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Cornell University Library 
F 74L72 H34 
Historical sicetch of of Littjet 

3 1924 028 838 823 ^ 
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Cornell University 

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[Reprinted from the " History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts."'] 


The origin of the Indian town of Nashpbah, which 
once occupied the greater part of the territory now 
Littleton, is traceable directly to Eev. John Eliot, the 
apostle to the Indians and the translator of the Bible 
into the Indian language. He began to preach to the 
Indians in 1646 at Nonantum, a part of Newton. 
Many became converted to Christianity and expressed 
a desire to become civilized and to live more like 
white people. Eliot advised them to adopt the gov- 
ernment which Jethro proposed to Moses for the Is- 
raelites in the wilderness (Exodus xviii. 21), and to 
choose rulers of hundreds, of fifties and of tens ; he 
also advised that they live in towns apart from the 
white people, and accordingly obtained from the Gen- 
eral Court a grant of territory at Natick, where the 
"praying Indians," as they were called, formed tjieir 
first town in 1651. 

Other towns of the same kind were formed soon 
after, and among them Nashobab. 

The Indians of this neighborhood w^ere among the 
first to listen to Eliot's preaching, and Tahattawan 
the elder, sachem of Nashobah, was, according to 
Shattuck's " History of Concord," one of the first con- 

Eev. Thomas Shepard, of Cambridge, in his "Clear 
Sunshine of Gospel," speaking of the Indians and 
Mr. Eliot's preaching, says : " The last effect was their 
desire of having a town given them within the bounds 
of Concord near unto thfe English.'' 

Among the orders and regulations for the Indians, 
agreed to at Concord, January, 1646, is the following : 

"29. They desire they may be a town and either 
dwell on this side of Beaver Swamp (in Lincoln) or at 
the East side of Mr. Flint's Pond." 

It would seem from these facts that the praying In- 
dians of this vicinity had it in rnind to form a town in 
or near Concord for several years before they were 
granted the Nashobah plantation, and that they had 
discussed different localities. 

It would be interesting if we knew more about 
Eliot's preaching to the Nashobab Indians, that he 



stood on such a spot on such a day, that he came 
again on such a day, etc., etc. ; hut I have been una- 
ble to find any record of his coming to this Ticinity. 
That both Eliot and Gookin came here I have no 
doubt, for it is known that they were in the habit of 
going about to all the settlements of praying Indians. 

From the fact that Tahattawan the elder was 
among the first of the converts we may conclude that 
he first listened to Eliot's preaching at Newton or in 
that neighborhood, and it may be that by his invita- 
tion the apostle afterwards came up into the wilder- 
ness beyond Concord; but these are mere conjec- 

In May, 1654, Mr. Eliot petitioned the General 
Court for the incorporation of several Indian towns ; 
the part of the petition which interests us reads as 
follows : " First, therefore the inhabitants of Nashoba 
living 7 or 8 miles west of Concord, desire to have 
liberty to make a towne in y' place, with due accom- 
modations thereunto. And though Concord have 
some conditional grants of lands y* way, yet I under- 
stand that we shall have a loving and Christian agree- 
ment betwixt them and the Indians." 

The petition is dated Boston, 4th of the 3d (May), 

In the General Court records, under date of 14th 
of May, 1654, is the following : 

" In ana' to the peticon of Mr. Jno. Elliott, on behalf of seuerall In- 
dians, the Court graunte hie request, viz. : liberty for the inhabitants 
of Nashop [Nashobah] and to the inhabitants of Ogkoontiquonkames 
[Marlborough] and also to the inhabitants of Hasnemesuchoth [Grafton] 
to erect seuerall Indjan tonnes in the places propounded, w^b convejent 
acomodacon to each, provided they pfjudice not any former graunts ; 
nor shall they dispose of it wU< out leave first had and obtajned- from this 

In reference to the incorporation of Nashobah, Mr. 
Shattuck, in his " History of Concord," says : 

"Nashobah, lying near Nagog Pond, partly in Littleton and partly in 
jlcfon, as now bounded, accordingly became an Indian town ; and here 
a part of the Praying Indians in Concord, with others in the vicinity, 
gathered and adopted civil and religious order, and had a Ruler and 
other municipal oificere, though no church was formed. Such as were 
entitled to Christian ordinances probably went to Natick to celebrate 
the communion after a church was organized there in 1660." 

Let us hope that the last part of the quotation from 
Mr. Shattuck is more trustworthy tha»x the first; 
he gives no authority for saying that Nashobah 
was " partly in Acton," and I am inclined to think 
that he drew on his imagination for the statement, 
as I am unable to find any authority for it what- 
ever, while, on the contrary, I have been able to 
locate the original Nashobah with tolerable accur- 
acy, as I shall show hereafter, and am morally cer- 
tain that the town of Concord never had a valid 
title to one inch of the land where the Indian town 
was laid out, and consequently that it was never 
"partly in Acton," which, as we all know, was set 
off from Concord. 

We will drop the question of boundary for the 
present and take it up later. It may seem a little 
peculiar that the white people, who had taken pos- 

session of all Massachusetts, with very little regard 
to the Indians, who had occupied it from time im- 
memorial, should gravely grant back to them a 
small portion with restrictions ; but such is always 
our " Indian policy." 

The white people took possession of all the land 
in the Colony by virtue of their charter from the 
Crown of England, and the Crown protected them 
merely by its power. 

Thus we see why it is that Indian deeds are and 
were of little value in conveying a title, for the 
Indians, having no stable government, had no power 
to enforce a title, and therefore a title acquired 
from Indians could not stand against one from the 

Daniel Gookin, in his " Historical Collections of 
the Indians in New England," chapter vii. § 10, 
says : " Nashobah is the sixth praying Indian town. 
This village is situated, in a manner, in the centre, 
between Chelmsford, Lancaster, Groton and Concord. 
It lieth from Boston about twenty-five miles west 
north west. The inhabitants are about ten families, 
and consequently about fifty souls. 

" The dimensions of this village is four miles square. 
The land is fertile and well stored with meadows 
and woods. It h^h good ponds for fish adjoining 
to it. The people live here, as in other Indian vil- 
lages, upon planting corn, fishing, hunting and some- 
times labouring with the English. Their ruler, of 
late years, was John Ahatawance [Tahattawan], a 
pious man. Since his decease, Pennakennit [or Pen- 
nahannit] is the chief. Their teacher is named John 
Thomas, a sober and pious man. His farther was 
murthered by the Maquas in a secret manner, as he 
was fishing for eels at his wear, some years since, dur- 
ing the war. He was a pious and useful person, and 
that place sustained a great loss in him. In this 
village, as well iu other old Indian plantations, 
they have orchards of apples whereof they make 
cider, which some of them have not the wisdom and 
grace to use for their comfort, but are prone to abuse 
unto drunkenness. 

" And although the laws be strict to suppress this 
sin, and some of their own rulers are very careful 
and zealous in the execution of them, yet such is 
the madness and folly of man naturally, that he 
doth eagerly pursue after that which tendeth to his 
own destruction. 

"I have often seriously considered what course to 
take to restrain this beastly sin of drunkenness 
among them ; but hitherto cannot reach it. For if 
it were possible, as it is not, to prevent the Eng- 
lish selling them strong drink ; yet they, having a 
native liberty to plant orchards and sow grain, as 
barley and the like, of which they may and do 
make strong drink that doth inebriate them, so that 
nothing can overcome and conquer this exorbitancy 
but the sovereign grace of God in Christ, which is the 
only antidote to prevent and mortify the poison of sin. 

V I 


^^-^^ ;/^S^^r^'^/{' 


" Near unto this town is a pond, wherein at some sea- 
sons there is a strange rumbling noise, as the In- 
dians affirm ; the reason whereof is not yet known. 
Some have conceived the hills adjacent are hollow, 
wherein the wind being pent, is the cause of this 
rumbling, as in earthquakes. 

"At this place they attend civil and religious order, 
as in other praying towns, and they have a constable 
and other officers. 

" This town was deserted during the Maquas War, 
but is now again re-peopled and in a hopeful way to 

This, then, was the state of affairs in 1674, the date 
of'Gookin's writing. 

The pond where the rumbling noise occurred is, of 
course, Nagog. Traditions are plenty of rumbling 
noises, sometimes said to be like the discharge of can- 
non in the vicinity of Nashoba Hill, which ia near 
Nagog Pond, but I have not heard of any occurring 
of late years. They were probably earthquakes. 

John Ahatawance, mentioned by Gookin, was Ta- 
hattawan the younger, son of the elder of the same 

Pennahannit, also called Captain Josiah, was the 
" marshal general " of all the praying Indian towns. 

In the year following Gookin's account came King 
Philip's War, which proved disastrous to the Nasho- 
bah Indians, owing to the distrust of their loyalty to 
the Colony, and fears of their joining Philip and per- 
haps endangering their neighbors, the white people. 
I have never found that there were any grounds for 
these fears; but no Indian was trusted, and the atroc- 
ities of the hostile ones made the name Indian odious 

In the Massachusetts Archives, vol. 30, page 185, 1 
find the following under date of November 19, 1675 : 

" It is ordered By the Gounsell that the comitte of militia of Concord 
and the select men of that towoe with the advice of Major Willard do 
dispose & order matters referring to the Indians of Nashobah that 
have subjected to this Govermon, & to setle & secure y™ in the towne of 
Concord under the inspection of John Hoire of Concord ; (Who hath 
manifested himself willing to to take ay^ care of them & to secure them 
by day & by night) Sc to see they bee imployd to laubor ; for their lively 
hood that the country may be eased ; or in case they cannot or do not 
agree wh John Hoare afforesaid y* they are impoured to contract w"* 
any other person or persons in the said towne, for the same end, or to 
plaae the said Indians or ay of them to servise, provided the mayne end 
bee attained vizt. : that the Indians may be imployed to laubor & pesarved 
fron dange & the country & towne secured. 

'■ Past by y= Councel 19th of November, 167S. 

"B. B. S." 

Also the following : 

" 9 Dec, 1675. It is ordered that Major Willard, Capt. Gookin with 
Mr. Eliot by the first opportunity are to repayre to Concord and 
Chelmsford & to examin those Indians there, & to use their best en- 
devor to settle them in such a posture either at Deare Island or in the 
place where they live so y' they who are friendly to the English may 
secured & and the English in those parts also secured & as much as may 
satisfied with their settlement and the said comittee or any two or thre 
of them & impoured to effect this matter & they are to use their best 
indevor that those Indians may be imployd & kept to laubor & take 
care they be all disarmed, 

" 9 December 75 Past by y" Councel 

"Ebw. Bawsos, Secy." 

In accordance with these orders, the Indians of 
Nashobah were taken to Concord and put in charge 
of John Hoar, who kept them employed and contented 
for a short time. Hoar was compensated for his 
trouble by being exempted from impressment and, 
perhaps, taxation. 

Gookin, in his " History of the Christian Indians,'' 
gives the following interesting account of this epi- 
sode : 

"About this time there befell another great trouble 
and exercise to the Qhristian Indians of Nashobah, 
who sojourned in Concord by order ; the matter was 
this. The Council had, by several orders, empower- 
ed a committee, who, with the consent of the select- 
men of Concord, settled those Indians at that town, 
under the government and tuition of Mr. John 
Hoare; the number of those Indians were about fifty- 
eight of all sorts, whereof were not above twelve 
able men, the rest were women and children. These 
Indians lived very soberly, and quietly, and indus- 
triously, and were all unarined ; neither could any 
of them be charged with any unfaithfulness to the 
English interest. 

" In pursuance of this settlement, Mr. Hoare had 
begun to build a large and convenient work-house for 
the Indians, near his own dwelling, which stood 
about the midst of the town, and very nigh the town 

" This bouse was made, not only to secure those 
Indians under lock and key by night, but to employ 
them and to set them to work by day, whereby they 
earned their own bread, and in an ordinary way (with 
God's blessing) would have lived well in a short time. 
Bnt some of the inhabitants of the town, being in- 
fluenced with a spirit of animosity and distaste 
against all Indians, disrelished this settlement; and 
therefore privately sent to a Captain of the army, 
[Captain Mosely] that quartered his company not 
far off at that time, of whom they had experience, 
that he would not be backward to put in execution 
anything that tended to distress the praying Indians ; 
for this was the same man that had formerly, without 
order, seized upon divers of the praying Indians at 
Marlborough, which brought much trouble and dis- 
quiet to the country of the Indians, and was a great 
occasion of their defection ; as hath been above de- 

" This Captain accordingly came to Concord with 
a party of his men, upon the Sabbath day, into the 
meeting-house, where the people were convened to 
the T^rship of God. And after the exercise was 
ended, he spake openly to the congregation to this 
effect : 'That he understood there were some heathen 
in the town, committed to one Hoare, which he was 
informed were a trouble and disquiet to them ; there- 
fore if they desired it, he would remove them to Bos- 
ton ; ' to which speech of his, most of the people 
being silent, except two or three that encouraged 
him, he took, as it seems, the silence of the rest for 


consent ; and immediately after the assembly was 
dismissed, he went with three or four files of men, 
and a hundred or two of the people, men, women and 
children, at his heels, and marched away to Mr. 
Hoare's house and there demanded of him to see the 
Indians under his care. Hoare opened the door and 
showed them to him, and they were all numbered 
and found there ; the Captain then said to Mr. Hoare, 
' that he would leave a corporal and soldiers to secure 
them ; ' but Mr. Hoare answered, ' tliere was no need 
of that, for they were already secured, and were com- 
mitted to him by order of the Council, and he would 
keep and secure them.' Biit yet the Captain left his 
corporal and soldiers there, who were abusive enough 
to the poor Indians by ill language. The next morn- 
ing the Captain came again to take the Indians and 
send them to Boston. But Mr. Hoare refused to 
deliver them unless he showed him an order o^ 
the Council ; but the Captain could show him no 
other but his commission to kill and destroy the 
enemy ; but Mr. Hoare said, ' these were friends and 
under order.' 

" But the Captain would not be satisfied with his 
answer, but commanded his corporal forthwith to 
break open the door and take the Indians all 
away, which was done accordingly; and some of 
the soldiers plundered the poor creatures of their 
shirts, shoes, dishes, and such other things as they 
could lay their hands upon, though the Captain com 
manded the contrary. They were all brought to 
Charlestown with a guard of twenty men. And the 
Captain wrote a letter to the General Court, then 
sitting, giving them an account of his action. 

"This thing was very . offensive to the Council, 
that a private Captain should (without commission 
or some express order) do an act so contradictory to 
their former orders ; and the Governor and several 
others spake of it at a conference with the deputies at 
the General Court. . . . 

" The Deputies seemed generally to agree to the 
reason of the Magistrates in this matter ; yet notwith- 
standing, the Captain (who appeared in the Court 
shortly after upon another occasion), met with no 
rebuke for this high irregularity and arbitrary action. 
To conclude this matter, those poor Indians, about 
fifty-eight of them of all sorts, were sent down to 
Deer Island, there to pass into the furnace of affliction 
with their brethren and countrymen. But all their 
corn and other provision sufficient to maintain them 
for six months, was lost at Concord ; and all their 
other necessaries, except what the soldier^ had 
plundered. And the poor Indians got very little or 
nothing of what they lost, but it was squandered 
away, lost by the removal of Mr. Hoare and other 
means, so that they were necessitated to live upon 
clams, as the others did, with some little corn provided 
at the charge of the ' Honorable Corporation for the 
Indians,' residing in London. Besides, Mr. Hoare lost 
all his building and other cost, which he had provided 

for the entertainment and employment of those In- 
dians ; which was considerable." This was in Febru- 
ary, 1675-76. 

In another place Gookin relates that fourteen 
armed men of Chelmsford went to the Indian camp 
at Wameset, near by, and called on them to come out 
of their wigwams, whereupon they fired on the unsus- 
pecting Indians, wounding five women and children 
and killing outright the only son of John Tahatta- 
wan, of Nashobah, a boy twelve years old, and wound- 
ing his mother, Sarah or Kehonowsquaw, then a 
widow, the daughter of Sagamore John,, of Paw- 

She was then a widow for the second time, having 
had as her second husband Oonamog, ruler of the 
Praying Indians at Marlborough. 

William Nahaton, or Tahattawan, a brother of 
John Tahattawan, was among the Indians at Deer 
Island, and was one of the six selected to serve as 
guides under Major Savage, in March, 1675-76. 

Tom Dublet, or Nepanet, was another of the Na- 
shobah Indians who proved of great service to the 
English in treating with the hostile Indians and re- 
deeming prisoners. He it was who procured the re- 
lease of Mrs. Rowlandson and others. 

For one of these expeditions, which was successful 
in ransoming prisoners, an order was passed by the 
General Court awarding him two coats. 

His wigwam was near the present residence of Mr. 
Joel Proctor, and his favorite "hole" for fishing is 
pointed out some distance down the brook. 

There were white people living at this time in 
the part of the present town of Littleton which we 
designate as Nashoba, but which was pot within the 
Indian plantation, but was part of Concord Village, 
so-called, and was sometimes designated as Powers' 
Farm and Nashoba Farm. 

The Reed house, the ruins of which are still to be 
seen at the foot of Nashoba Hill, was built as a gar- 
rison, probably about this. time, for protection against 
hostile Indians. 

A family by the name of Shepard was living in 
the vicinity during King Philip's War, and in Febru- 
ary, 1675-76, Abraham and Isaac Shepard, two broth- 
ers, were killed by Indians as they were threshing in 
their barn. They had set their sister Mary, a girl of 
fifteen years, to watch on Quagana Hill, near by, but 
the Indians stole up behind, captured her before she 
could give an alarm and carried her away to Nasha- 
way (Lancaster), where they encamped for the night. 
While the Indians slept she escaped, mounted a 
horse, swam the river, and rode home. 

There may have been more of a village at Na- 
shoba Farm than is now there. The ancient burying- 
ground, which was on the Reed Farm, was ploughed 
up several years since. Such desecration is shame- 
ful ; but in the absence of records to show that it 
was ever set aside for a public burying-place, and 
never having been under the town's care, nobody felt 


















T^fJfhf^AA fiCuMl^fim (aiJirnh'^ iQ**l .'? 











Ijl' a 



authorized to take action after the desecration took 
place ; the contemplation of which was known only 
to the perpetrator, who claimed the land. 

The tombstones were used in building a wall, and 
some were taken away as relics, so that now, proba- 
bly, no vestige remains of the last resting-place of 
the earliest white settlers of this town. 

East of where the burying-ground is said to have 
been may be seen a well-preserved dam, canal and mill- 
site beside the brook which runs through the woods. 

Very few of the Nashobah Indians ever returned, 
but when released from Deer Island went to other 
places, the greater number to Natick. In the mean 
time white people moved into the deserted plantation, 
perhaps had done so to some extent before the In- 
dians were removed, and settled there with no real 
right, save that of possession ; for, though some bought 
land of the Indians, the latter had been expressly 
forbidden by the General Court to sell without its 

Lieutenant Joseph Wheeler, of Concord, by trad- 
ing with the Nashobah Indians while they still lived 
on their plantation, became their creditor, and peti- 
tioned the General Court in 1662 for a grant of two 
hundred acres of land in the south part of Nashobah 
in payment, but it was refused. 

Peleg Lawrence and Robert Bobbins, of Groton, 
were probably the first purchasers of Nashobah land 
from the Indians. A plan on file at the State-House, 
made by .Jonathan Danforth, surveyor, and bearing 
date January 2, 1686-87, shows the Bobbins and Law- 
rence tract as laid out in the northeast corner of the 
plantation, one-half mile wide by about two miles 
long ; one side, the northerly, being just two miles, 
and the southerly a little longer. 

It appears to have been supposed by these men 
and Groton people that the purchase of the land from 
the Indians brought it into Groton territory, and 
when, in later years, it was found that the jurisdiction 
over Nashobah lands was in question, and that other 
towns were preparing to annex it, Groton sought to 
strengthen her claim by getting possession of the 
Indian deeds. At a town-meeting in Groton, June 
8, 1702, it was voted to give three acres of meadow 
land and ten acres of upland each to Bobert Bob- 
bins and to the heirs of Peleg Lawrence, on condition 
that they give up their Indian titles to the town. 
Groton people or others who desired to belong to 
Groton also settled within the bounds of Nashobah, 
but outside of the Bobbins and Lawrence purchase. 

In the Middlesex County records I find that at 
court held at Charlestown, June 20, 1682, the follow- 
ing was entered : 

"CaplalD Thomas HsDchman, It. Jos. Wheeler & Lt. Jno. flynt 
surveyor, or any two of them are nominated & impowered a comit- 
tee to run the ancient bounds of Nashobah Plantation, & remark the 
lines, as it was returned to the general court by said M'. flynt, at the 
charge of the Indians, giving notice to the selectmen of Grotton of time 
&, place of meeting W is referred to Mr. flynt, to appynt, & to make re- 
turn to next coun court at Camb. in order to a finall settlement." 

The return is as follows : 

" We whose names are underwritten being appointed by yo Honored 
County Court June 20th, 1682, To run the Ancient bounds of Nasho- 
bey, have accordingly run the said bounds, and find that the Town of 
Groton by theire Second laying out of theire bounds have taken into 
theire bounds as we judge neer halfe Indian Plantation. 

"Sevverall of the Select men aud other inhabitants of Groton being 
there with us Did see theeree error therein & Do declire that laying out 
So far as they have Invaded the right of y* Indians. 

" Also we find y* the Norwesb Corner of Nashobey is run into ye iirst 
bounds of Groton to ye Quantity of 350 acres according as Groton men 
did there Show us theire Said line which they Say was made before 
Naehobey was laid out, and which bounds they Do Challenge as theire 

•' The Indians also have Declared them Selves willing to forego that 
Provided they may have it made up upon tht ire West Line. 

"And we Judge it may be there added to theire Conveniance. 

" 2 October 1682. 

" Joseph Wheeler, 
"John Flint. 

" Exhibited in Court & approved 3 : 8 : 82. 

"T. D. E." 

From a comparison of Jonathan Danforth's plan 
of Nfishobah and the first plan of Groton, made by 
the same surveyor in 1668 and published by Dr. S. 
A.Green in his "Boundary Lines of Old Groton," 
with a modern county map, it will be seen where the 
350 acres lay in which Nashobah and Groton over- 
lapped each other. 

The northwest corner of Nashobah was undoubt- 
edly the same as the present northwest corner of 
Littleton, on the side of Brown Hill in Pingreyville, 
and very nearly a right angle. It was formed by 
the present westerly line of the town and a line 
whose general direction from the corner was easterly, 
and is laid down on Danforth's plan of Nash- 
obah as a straight line, although records state 
that it ran by blazed trees which were not in a 
straight line. 

The southeasterly line of Groton by Danforth's 
plan of that town ran from Forge Pond to a point 
near the Lactate factory, or between that and the 
■'Newstate" railroad crossing; there it made an angle 
of about 150° and ran to a point at or near the pres- 
ent westerly corner of Littleton and northerly corner 
of Boxboro', from which point the Groton line ran 
northwesterly to what is now Shirley Village. It 
will be seen that the easterly end of Oak Hill and 
considerable land in the Pingreyville corner of the 
town must therefore have been included in the maps 
made by Danforth of both Nashobah and Groton. 

To which plantation this 350 or more acres right- 
fully belonged is a question of great doubt. 

The grant of the Indian plantation of Nashobah 
was in 1654, and though no area nor bounds were 
given, it was stated by Gookin in 1674 and by others 
to be four miles square ; in reality it was only three 
miles on the north side. 

The original grant of Groton was in 1655, and was 
stated to be a tract eight miles square, but when first 
laid out by Danforth in 1668 it was on the average 
about seven miles wide by eleven long. 

Groton neglected to | get Danforth's plan con- 


firmed by the General Court until after Naahobah 
waa incorporated for a second time as an English 
town in 1714, and then the overlapped territory had 
been confirmed to Naahobah. 

In their report Messrs. Wheeler & Flint refer to a 
second laying out of Groton, by which, no doubt, was 
claimed the Eobbins and Lawrence purchase and 
more too, as the amount of land within Naahobah 
claimed by Groton was stated in a legislative report 
by Jonathan Tyng, Thomas How and John Stearns 
in 1711 to be 7840 acres, and elsewhere that the line 
extended beyond Beaver Brook. It does not appear 
that Groton ever had any valid right to this tract, 
but after it was taken beyond their reach by the in- 
corporation of Nashobah in 1714, Groton men had 
sufficient influence in the Legislature to procure the 
grant, mainly in lieu of it, of Groton Gore, so called — 
a tract not then included in any town, but in what is 
now Greenville, Mason, Brookline, Milford and Wil- 
ton in New Hampshire. 

The next purchase of land from the Indians, after 
the Robbins and Lawrence tract, and the first one of 
which the deed is recorded, was made June 15, 1686, 
by Hon. Peter Bulkeley, of Concord, and Maj. 
Thomas Henchman, of Chelmaford, who bought the 
easterly half of the plantation for the sum of £70. 
The Indian grantors were : 

" Kehonowsquaw alias Sarah, the daughter and Bole heireaa of John 
Tahattawan, Sachem and late of Naahobah deceased ; Kaanishcow, 
alias John Tbomas ; Naanasquaw alias Rebeckah, wife to the said 
Naanishcow ; Naashkinomenet, alias Solomon, eldest son of s<i Naanish- 
cow and Naanasquaw, sister to the aforesaid Tahattawan ; Weegram- 
mominet alias Thomas Waban ; Nackcominewock, relict of Crooked 
Robin ; Wunnuhhew alias Sarah, wife to Neepanum alias Tom Dube 

The description of the land is as follows : 

"And it coutains one moyety or halfe part of said Nashobah planta- 
tion, & the easterly side of it ; It is hounded by Chelmsford plantation 
(about three miles & three-quarters) on the easterly side ; by Concord 
village Land Southward, about two miles & three-quarters; Northward 
it is bounded by Land sold by the aforesaid Indians to Robert Robbins 
and Peleg Lawrence, both of Groton Town, which land is part of the 
aforesaid Nashobah plantation, & this Line is exactly two miles in 
Length & runs East three degrees Northerly, or West three degrees 
southerly, & the South end runs parallell with this Line : On the West- 
erly side it is bounded by the remainder of said Nashobah plantation ; 
& that West Line runs (from two little maples marked with H for the 
Northwest corner) it runs South seven degrees & thirty minutes east, 
four miles & one-quarter ; the most Southerly corner is bounded by a 
little red oak marked H, the north east corner is a stake standing about 
four or five pole southward of a very great Rock that Lyeth in the line 
between said Naahobah & Chelmsford plantation." 

The great rock is no doubt the one in the orchard 
on the farm of the late Barnabas Dodge, a short dis- 
tance aouth of the road, and that ia now in the line be- 
tween Littleton and Weatford. 

I am forced to the concluaion that Jonathan Dan- 
forth, whose plan of 1686 appeara to have been made 
for the purpose of locating the Bulkeley and Hench- 
man purchase, made his plan more in the interest of 
his clients than of accuracy, and suspect that he did 
not measure the north line of the plantation at all, 
but assumed that it was four miles long and ao meas- 

ured oft' two miles for Bulkeley and Henchman, and 
ran his other lines accordingly. My reasons for this 
belief are that the distance from the great rock men- 
tioned to the northwest corner of lattleton on the 
side of Brown Hill, which all authorities agree is the 
original northwest corner of Nashobah, is only about 
three miles, and when it came to be surveyed under 
the direction of a legislative committee in 1711, the 
north line of the plantation is reported aa three 

If the reader will look at a map of Littleton and 
note the following points, he will have the four cor- 
ners of the ancient Indian plantation Nashobah : the 
northwest corner of Littleton on the side of Brown 
Hill, near the road to Ayer, was one corner ; a point 
near the centre of Boxboro', found by prolonging the 
present west and south lines of Littleton until they 
meet, was another corner ; the westerly end of Nagog 
pond was a third corner, and a point on the Westford 
line, between the Dodge place and Forge Pond, was 
the fourth corner. It was uniformly apoken of aa 
four miles square,,but was not exactly that, being, as 
we have seen, only three miles on one side, and hav- 
ing corners which varied slightly from right angles. 

The purchases of Robbins, Lawrence, Bulkeley and 
Henchman left in the hands of the Indians only that 
portion of the plantation which Danforth in his plan 
designates as " Nashobalh the Indian part," being the 
westerly portion, four miles long on the west line 
two miles theoretically on the north line, but actually 
only about one, and 412 poles on the south line. 

Deeds from the Indians covering this portion are 
on record at Cambridge aa follows : Under date of 
May 9, 1694, from Thomas Waban, of Natick, to 
Walter Powers, of Concord, in consideration of fif- 
teen pounds, and other things — 

" A certain Tract of Land upland, Swamp, Meadow & Meadow Laud, 
Containing one Quarter part of an Indian Plantation known by ye 
name of Nashoby within their Majesties Province of ye Massachusetts 
Bay. The easterly half of s** Plantation being formerly bought of ye 
Indians by Major Hinchman and ye Westerly Quarter iwirt of ye Plan- 
tation is yet in Possession of ye Indians being Challenged .by John 
Tbomas Indian and this Quarter part of the plantation by one now sold 
aa above lies between ye s^ halfe that Major Hinchman bought of ye 
Indians and ye other Quarter part y* said Indian John Thomas claims 
from End to End both upland and Meadow, ye Souther End bounds upon 
Pompasittaquitt, or ye Town Ship of Stow, and ye Northerly End rune 
[to] Groton Line." 

And under date of May 10, 1701, from 

" Solomon Thomas & John Thomas jr., both of Natiok, to Josiah Whit- 
comb of Lancaster," "a certain parcell or Tract of Land lying and be- 
ing In a place Commonly Called and known by the name of Meshonah 
[Nashobah] and is a Quarter part of a Tract of Land four miles square, 
It being fonr mile in Length and one mile in it more or -less 
as it is bounded with Stow Land on the South and West and Wilderness 
Land on the North and the Laud of Walter Powers on the East, and all 
that is therein and thereupon, and all rights, privileges, easements and 
appurtenances belonging to the thereby granted premises." 

Solomon Thomas and John Thomas, Jr., were sons 
of John Thomas, and it is fair to assume that he had 
transferred his interest in this tract to them, as he 
was still living at the time. 



^mfiHHc^t C^h^ -^^ 


With black lines to indicate the changes afterwards made in 
Littleton town bounds previous to i8go. 

1st Change, A. D. 1725. Nashoba Farm added from Concord. 

(See top of plan.) 
2d Change, A.- D 1738-9.- Estates of Peleg Lawrence and others 

added from Groton. (See left hand side of plan.) 

3d Change, A. D. 1783. Territory set off to form District of 
Boxborough. (See right hand lower corner of plan.) 


^ 2- 

< £ 

< = 
<; I 

O -3 





A confirmatory deed of the Bulkeley and Hench- 
man purchase was given in 1714 by Thomas Waban, 
John Thomas and John Thomas, Jr., to Major 
Henchman and the heirs of Peter Bulkeley, and states 
that the consideration was passed twenty-eight years 

This deed, old and yellow, but still legible, bearing 
the signature of Waban, and the marks of the other 
two, is still in existence, and in the possession of the 
writer, to whom it was presented by his father, Hon. 
Joseph A. Harwood. It is an extremely interesting 
document, and was formerly, owned by Mr. Samuel 
Gardner Drake, author of " Drake's Book of Indians," 
from whose hands it passed through one other only to 
Mr. Harwood. 

What disposition to make of Nashobah seems to 
have been a troublesome question for the General 
Court to decide, and the conflicting interests which 
sought possession of the very desirable farming lands 
there lying idle were powerful enough to keep the 
question in suspense for many years. 

It appears to have been a contest between Major 
Henchman and others, who had bought of the Indians 
and wished to colonize the place and form a town, on 
one side, and the neighboring municipalities, which 
wished to annex the territory, on the other. In the 
end the colonization interest won. 

Reference is made to a petition from Concord people, 
who desired a grant of the land for settling on it, but 
it was stated not to have been pressed, owing to the 
" publick troubles that hath happened," referring no 
doubt to the troubles in England at the time of the 
accession of William and Mary; but in 1698 it was 
renewed by a petition signed by twenty-one Concord 
men and seventeen Chelmsford men, stating: "And 
your petitioners; for themselves or children, stand in 
need of an iulargme"' & accommodations (who, if not 
accommodated neer home, must be necessitated to re- 
move out of the Province), having also obtained the 
Indian Title of ye one-halfe of ye sd Tract, of ye Ad- 
ministrators of ye estate of Peter Bulkeley, Esq., de- 
ceased, and of Major Thomas Hinchman, ... In 
order to the setting up of an English plantation." 

Major Henchman endorsed the document to the 
effect that the petitioners had purchased the title to 
half the tract. 

The matter was put in the hands of a committee to 
report to the next session, which again put it off in 
the same manner, and it seems to have come to noth- 
ing for several years after. The signatures, however, 
to the petition include many Littleton names, from 
which it is fair to assume that this was in a measure 
the party which was finally successful in getting the 
grant. I give the names in full : 

Concord.— Joseph Bstabrook, Thomas Da^kin, John Wheelor, Jno. 
Jones, Eliphelct Fox, Synion Davis,' Seu'., Thomas Browne, Sen'., Sam" 
How Samuel Prescott, Jn. Meriam, Samuel Hartwell, Nath" Harwood, 
Moses Wheatt, Koger Chandler, Walter Power, Sen., Wm. Wilson, 
Samuel Jones, Jno. Hore, Jno. Wood, George KobinB. 

CHELMSroBB.— Jno. Hartwell, Sen'., Jno, Hold, Sam". Stratton, Jona- 

than Prescott, Jan'., Jacob Taylor, Tho. Wheller, James Snedly, Thomas 
Clark, Joseph Farwell, Edward Emerson, Joseph Adams, Jno. Kidder, 
Steven Pierce, Abraham Parker, John Perram, Moses Parker, Blezar 

As has been stated before, Groton attempted to 
annex a large part of Nashobah, but was not success- 
ful. Stow Also made an attempt to get the whole, and 
in 1702 petitioned the General Court, reciting the 
facts that Nashobah, a tract of land four miles square, 
was deserted by the Indian proprietors, who wished to 
sell ; that certain English claimed it by purchase, and 
that Groton had of late extended their town bounds 
to take in a large part, especially of meadow, but that 
Stow, being small, stood in the greatest need of it, and 
praying for leave to purchase and join the land to 
Stow. The petition was granted on the part of the 
House, but negatived in the Council. 

This left the matter still open, and people continued 
to settle in Nashobah, some by right of purchase and 
others without right. Of course they had no town 
government, though no doubt most of them associated 
themselves with the neighboring towns, where they 
attended church and paid minister's rates, and per- 
haps other taxes, as towns were allowed to tax out- 
lying settlers not in other towns. 

Jonathan Whitcomb, nephew of Josiah Whit- 
comb, who purchased of the Indians, settled where his 
descendant, Jonathan Hartwell Whitcomb, now lives, 
the farm having been handed down in the family ever 
since, and as he was a shoemaker, or "cordwainer"' 
and kept accounts with his neighbors as early as 1708, 
I have been able to gather from them the names of 
many of the first settlers. Among them are the 
names of Robbins, Lawrence, Parker, Willard, Farns- 
worth, Pearce, Powers, Wheeler, Wetherbee, Stone, 
Davis, Whitney, Jewett, Woods, Gilson, and many 
others not now familiar. The next move for a grant 
of Nashobah, of which I find record, was in 1711, 
when twenty-three, who styled themselves "Inhabit- 
ants of Concord, Chelmsford, Lancaster & Stow, &c.," 
petitioned for a grant of Nashobah, " In a regular 
manner to settle a township," reciting that sundry 
persons had made entry upon the land without appli- 
cation to the government, and that' others were in- 
tending to do the same. 

The petitioners were : 

Gershom Procter, Sam" Procter, John Procter, Joseph Fletcher, John 
Miles, John Parlin, Robert Kobins, John Darby, John Barker, Sam 
Stratton, Hezekiah Fletcher, Josiah Whitcomb, John Buttrick, Will™ 
Powers, Jonathan Hubburd, Wm. Keen, John Heald, John Bateman, 
John Hey wood, Thomas Wheeler, Sam" Hartwell, jun'., Sam" Jones, 
John Miriam. 

Acting thereon the General Court, on June 7, 1711, 

"Ordered that Jo». Tyng, Esq'., Thorn'. Howe, Esq'., & Mr. John 
Sternes, be a Committee to view the Land mentioned in the Petition, & 
Represent the Lines or Bounds of the Severall Sictiacent Towns bounding 
on the Sd Lands, and to have Special! Regard to the Land granted to 
the Indians, & to make report of the quantity & Circumstances thereof." 

The report of this committee gives the best descrio- 
tion to be found of the plantation, and the state of 
things at that time, and I therefore copy it in full : 


" The report of the Comitty of the HonWe Court upon the petition of 
Concord, Chelineford, Lancaster & Stow, for a grant of Part of Naahobe 

"Pursuant to the directions given by this Hon^e Court bareing Date 
the 30ti> of May, 1711, The Comity Reports as followeth that is to Say, 

" That on the second day of October, 1711, the s^ comitty went upon 
the premises with an Artis and veved (viewed) and sorvaied the Land 
mentioned in the Peticon, and find that the most Southerly line of the 
plantation of Nashobe is bounded partly on Concord & partly on Stow, 
and this line contains by Estimation upon the servey a bought three 
miles and 50 polls. The Westerly line Runs partly on Stow & partly on 
land claimed by Groton and containes four miles and 20 poll, extending 
to a place called Brown hill. The North line Runs a long curtain lands 
claimed by Groton and contains three miles, the Easterle line Enns 
partly on Chelmsfiord, and partly on a farm cald Powersis farm, in Con- 
cord ; this line contains a bought fouer miles and twenty-flve pole. 

" The lands a boue mentioned wer shewed to vs for Nashobe Planta- 
tion, and there were ancient marks in the Seuerall lines fairly marked, 
AndS'^ comitefind vpon the Servey, that Groton hath Run into Nashobe 
(as it was Showed to vs). So as to to take out nere one-half S^ plantation 
and the bigest part of the medows, it appears to vs to Agree well with the 
report of Mr. John Flint & M^, Joseph Wheeler, who were a Commetty 
imployed by the County Court in midlesexs, to Run the bounds of said 
plantation. (June ye 20th, '82), The plat will demonstrate how the 
plantation lyeth & how Groton corns in vpon it, as aleso the quaintete 
which is a bought 7840 acres. 

"And said Comite are of the opinion that ther may [be] a township in 
that place, it lying So remote from most of the neighboreng Towns, 
provided this Court Shall Se reson to continew the bounds as we do judg 
thay have boon maid at the first laieng out, And that ther be sum addi- 
tion from Concord & Chelmsford which we are redy to think will be 
complyd with by S^ Towns, And S-^ Comite do find a bought 15 famelys 
Settled in S^ plantation of Nashobe, (5) in Groton claimed, and ten in 
the remainder, and 3 famelys which are already settled on the powerses 
farm, were convenient to joyn w s^ plantation and are a bought Eaight 
mille to any meting-house. (Also ther are a bought Eaight famelys in 
Chelmsford which are allredy setled near Nashobe line & six or Seven 
miles from their own meeting-house. 

■"Jonathan Ttnq, 
"Thomas How, 
"John Steahns. 
"In the House of Representatives Nov^, 2, 1711, Read. 
"Octo. 23, 1713. In Council Read and accepted; And the Indian 
native Proprietors of the S* Plantac"", Being removfed by death Except 
two or Three families only remaining, Its Declared and Derected That 
the said Lands of Nashoba be preserved for a Township. 

;' And Whereas it appears That Groton, Concord and Stow by Several 
of their Inhabitants have Encroached and Setled npon the Said Lands ; 
This Court sees not reason to remove them to their Damage, but will 
allow them to be and remain with other Inhabitants that may be ad- 
mitted into the Town to be there setled ; And that they have full Lib- 
erty when their Names and Number are determined to purchase of the 
few Indians there remaining, for the Establishment of a Township ac- 

" Saving convenient Allotments and portions of Land to the remain- 
ing Indian Inhabitants for their Setling and Planting. 

" Is"*. Addington, Secry. 
*' In the House of Representatives, Octo'. 23'*', 1713. Read." 

It will be noticed that this report was not acted on 
by the Council for nearly two years after it was made 
and acted on in the House. 

By this action the General Court decided that 
Nashobah should be a town for English people, and 
for the first time committed itself on the question. 

The act of incorporation followed about a year 
later, that is, on November 2, 1714, under which date 
the following entry is found in the General Court 
Records : 

" The following Order Passii by the Representvim, Read & Ooncur'd, 
viz. : Upon Consideration of the many Petitions & Claims relating to 
the Land called Nashoba Land ; Ordered that the said Nashoba Land 
be made a Township, with the Addition of such adjoining Lauds of the 

Neighbouring Towns, whose Owners shall petition for that end, & that 
this Court should think fit to grant. That the said Nashoba Lands 
having been long since purchased of the Indians by M^. Bulk ley '& 
Henchman, one-Half, the other Half by Whetcomb & Powers, That 
the Said purchase be confirmed to the children of the said Bulkley, 
Whetcomb & Powers, & Opt. Robert Meers as Assignee to M'. Hench- 
man according to their respective Proportions; Reserving to the Inhab- 
itants, who have settled within these Bounds, their' Settlements with 
Divisions of Lands, in proportion to the Grantees, & such as Shall be 
hereafter admitted ; the said Occupants or Present Inhabitants paying 
in Proportion as others shall pay for their Allotments ; Provided the 
said Plantation shall be settled with Thirty-five Families & an orthodox 
Minister in three years time. And that Five hundred Acres of Land be 
reserved and laid out for the Benefit of any of the Descendants of the 
Indian Proprietors of the Said Plantation, that may be surviving ; 
A Proportion thereof to be for Sarah Doublet alias Sarah Indian. The 
Rev. M'. John Leverett & Spencer Phips, Esq"", to be Trustees for the 
Said Indians to take Care of the Said Lands for their Use. 

"Audit is further Ordered that Cpt. Hopestill Brown, M^. Timothy 
Wily & Mr. Joseph Burnap, of Reading, be a Committee to lay out the 
said Five hundred Acres of Land reserved for the Indians & to run the 
Line between Groton & Nashoba, at the Charge of both Parties, & make 
Report to this Court ; And that however the Line mav divide the Land 
with regard to the Township, yet the Proprietors on either side may be 
continued in the Possession of their Improvements, paying as aforesaid ; 
And that no Persons legal Right or Property in the Said Lands shall [be] 
hereby taken away or infringed, ^ 

" Consented to J. Dudley." 

From this act of November 2, 1714, we date the 
present town, afterwards, as we shall see, named Lit- 
tleton , 

The report of the committee finally establishing the 
bounds and laying out the Indian reservation was as 
follows : 

" The following Report of the Committee for Running the Line be- 
tween Groton & Nashoba Accepted by Represent'". Read and Con- 
cur'd; viz. 

" We the subscribei-s appointed a Committee by the General Court to 
run the Line between Gn-ton & Nashoba & to lay out Five hundred 
Acres of Land in said Nashoba to the [sic] Descendants of the Indians ; 
Pursuant to said Order of Court, bearing date OctoV 20th [the open- 
ing of the session] 1714. We the Subscribers return as follows; That on 
the 30*'' of November last, we met on the premises, & heard the Informa- 
tion of the Inhabitants of Groton, Nashoba & others of the Neighbour- 
ing Towns, referring to the Line that has been between Groton & Nash- 
oba & seen several Records, out of Groton Book, & considered other 
W^ritings, that belong to Grot^jn and Nashoba. & We have considered ali 
and We have run the Line (Which we account is the old Line between 
Groton & Nashoba ;) We began next Chelmrford Line, at a Heap of 
Stones, where, we were- informed, that there had been a great Pine Tree, 
the Northeast Corner of Nashoba, and run Westerly by many old mark- 
ed Trees to a Pine Tree standing on the Southerly End of Brown Hill 
niark'd N and those marked Ti-ees had been many times marked or re- 
newed, tho they do not stand in a direct or strait Line to said Pine 
Tree on said Brown Hill ; And then from said Brown Hill we turned a 
little to the East of the South, & run to a White Oak being an old Mark, 
and so from said Oak to a Pitch Pine by a Meadow, being an other old 
Mark ; & the same Line extended to white oak near the North East Cor- 
ner of Stow : And this is all, as we were informed, that Groton & Nasho- 
ba joins together ; Notwithstanding the Committees Opinion is, that 
Groton Men be continued in their honest Rights, tho they fall within 
the Bounds of Nashoba ; And we have laid out to the Descendants of 
the Indians Five hundred Acres at the South East Corner of the Planta- 
tion of Nashoba ; East side, Three hundred Poles long. West side three 
hundred Poles, South & North ends. Two hundred and eighty Poles 
broad ; A large white Oak marked at the North west Corner, and many 
Live Trees we marked at the West Side & North End, & it takes in Part 
of two Ponds. 

"Dated Docem* 14, 1714. 

" HoPKSTiLL Brown 
" Timothy Wily 
" Joseph Burnap 
" Consented to J. Dudley." 

-^5^ ^--'^^ZlJ'^^'lZ'i^S^ 


The two ponds referrfed to in the part laid out for 
the Indians were Fort Pond and Nagog Pond. 

The town having been duly incorporated, we find, 
as in all the old towns, two record books started, the 
Proprietors' Record-Book and the Town Records. 

The proprietors continued their meetings and 
records until the last of the common lands were di- 
vided in the part of the town known as " New State 
Woods," or more properly New Estate, a name I sup- 
pose applied about the time of the division of it into 
individual holdings. The last entry in the Proprie- 
tors' Record-Book was in 1755. The first entry begins 
by reciting the act of the Legislature of November 2, 
1714, then follows 

" No (2) 

"To all Christian People before wliome tliese presents shall Come 
Greeting Know yee y* we whose names are underwritten having obtain- 
ed j« Genei-al Courts grant of a certain ti-act or parcel of Land comonly 
Olid Nashoba which was long since purchased of ye Indian Proprietors 
of B^ Land, by our- selves & predisessors as may appear by our several 
Deeds. Do by these presents mutualy agree to throw all in Comon for 
ye good of ye Town, & so to di-aw our several proportions according to 
our several intrests & former agreements — & y* we do further agree to 
admit as associates according to former agreements, Paul Dudley Eaq^, 
Addington Davenport Esq' & M' John White all of Boston— & also to 
reserve two or three Lots where it is most convenient for y ministry 
Scoole or such other Public usee as may be thought Propper to be at ye 
disposition of ye major part of ye Propriety also to bare our proportion 
of all ye Charge y* hath or may arise on ye premises. 

** To ye confirmation of which we find & obliege our selves our heirs 
executors and Administrators firmly by these presents in witness where- 
of we have hereinto set our hands and scales this 15^ of Decemr 1714. 
Note that ye lands cald Powerses farm is not by this instrument in- 

"Addington Davenpo't,* Jn» White,* Joseph Bulkely,* Robert Bob- 
bins,* Marah Wheeler,* Increas Powers,* Jon" Prescott,* John Han- 
cock,* Daniel Powers,* Robert Mears,* Isaac Powers,* Tho" Powers, 
Walter Powers,* Josiah Whitcomb,* Will" Powers,* John Bulkeley,* 
Paul Dudley,* Eliezer Lawrence.* 

"Signed & seald in presence of UB 

** DanI. Lawrknce 
"SamI. Loso." 

The admission as associates of Paul Dudley, Ad- 
dington Davenport and John White, " according to 
former agreements " shows that influence was requir- 
ed to get the measure through the Legislature. 

A curious error seems to have been made in the 
act of incorporation which made the following action 
necessary, under date of 

" Satuedat, Dec 3, 1715. 
" Upon Beading the Petition of Josiah Whitcomb of Lancaster, im- 

" That whereas the Great and General Court or assembly at the Ses- 
Bion in Oct' 1714, in consideration that the Land called Naehoba Land 
then ordered to be made a Towneh p was purchased of the Indians, one 
Half by M' Bulkley & M' Henchman, & the other half by Whitcomb 
(the Petitioner, who was supposed to be dead as he is informed) and 
that one Powers did Order that the said Purchase be confirmed to the 
Children of the said Bulkley Whitcomb & Powers St to Cap'. Robert 
Mears assignee of M' Henchman according to their respective Propor- 
tions as by the copy of the Order of Confirmation of the General 
Court will more fully appear Humbly Praying that the General Court 
will please ti revoke the Confirmation or Grant made to his Children & 
conflm to him his fourth part of the said Land, that he may enjoy what 
be honestly purchas'd & that he may have Liberty to make Disposition 
thereof according to his own Will 4 Pleasure. 

"In Council, Read & Consented that the Prayer of the withm Peti- 
tion be granted, And Ordered that the name of the Township he hence- 

forth called Littleton. In the House of Representatives Read & Con- 

"Consented to W™ Tailer." 

The date December 3, 1715, has beep erroneously 
used for the date of the incorporation of the town, 
but the reader can see for himself that the former 
act of November 2, 1714, is the correct date, and that 
the new town bore the name Nashoba for one year. 

It is said that the name Littleton was given as a 
compliment to Hon. George Lyttleton, M.P., one of 
the commissioners of the treasury, and that in ac- 
knowledgment he sent from England a church-bell 
as a present to the town ; but on account of the error 
in spelling by substituting " i " for " y," the present 
was withheld by the person having it in charge, who 
gave the excuse that no such town as Lyttleton could 
be found, and sold the bell. 

The first recorded town-meeting was held March 
13, 1715-16. 

The record begins somewhat abruptly, and it is by 
no means certain that the record-book, which is quite 
loose in the covers from age, has not lost a few pages 
bearing previous records. Isaac Powers was modera- 
tor, Samuel Dudley was chosen town clerk and first 
selectman, and the other selectmen were John Per- 
rum, John Cobleigh, Moses Whitney and William 
Powers. The other town officers were : Samuel 
Corry, constable ; Samuel Barret, tythingman; Tho- 
mas Power aud J ohn Wheeler, surveyors of highways ; 
Ebenezer Bobbins and Jacob Powers, hog constables ; 
John Barrett and Thos. Farr, fence-viewers, aud Isaac 
Powers, sealer of weights and measures and treasurer. 

Of these men, Isaac Powers lived first in the sec- 
tion of the town we call Nashoba, and afterwards in 
the Centre, where George Whitcomb now lives. 
Samuel Dudley lived beside the mill-pond, on land 
now owned by John A. Kimball and used by him for 
a pasture. A magnificent elm having a peculiar long 
horizontal limb a, short distance above the ground, 
stands by the Dudley cellar-hole. He probably own- 
ed land extending from there to Fort Pond. 

Moses Whitney lived where Frank Ford now lives,' 
in the south part of the town. John Perrum or Per- 
ham lived probably in the southeast part of the town. 
Wm. Powers lived in Pingreyville; Jacob Powers 
lived at the Old Common. 

One of the first things for the new town to do was 
to procure and settle a minister, and a town-meeting 
was held April 17th in regard to the matter, at which 
time it appears that Rev. Benjamin Shattuck was a 
candidate. A committee consisting of John Cob- 
leigh, John Perham and Eleazer Lawrence were 
chosen to confer with the ministers of the neighbor- 
ing townes, the Reverend Messrs. Eveleth, Stoddard, 
Troiwbridge and Whitney, and get their advice in 
regard to Mr. Shattuck. 

Their report is not recorded, but on May 9th, at a 
meeting called for the purpose, Mr. Shattuck was 
chosen minister, and the sum of £70 was appropriat- 



ed towards his settlement to be "added to his iot." 
His salary. was fixed at £55, to advance 20 shillings a 
year until it amount to £70 a year. 

Rev. Benj. Shattuck accordingly took up his resi- 
dence as the first minister of the town and completely 
identified himself with it. He had several daughters 
who married in town, and the Hartwell, Tuttle and 
Taylor families all trace their ancestry back to him. 
Mr. Shattuck was born in Watertown, July 30, 1678, 
graduated at Harvard college in 1709, and for the fol- 
lowing six years was teacher of the grammar and 
English school in Watertown, at the same time study- 
ing for the ministry. He was ordained at Littleton, on 
Christmas day, 1717, and continued as the minister of 
the town until August 24, 1730, when it was agreed by 
mutual consent that a council be called for his dis- 
mission. He continued to live in town, however, 
until his death, in 1763. 

His residence was the house now owned by Mrs. 
Eliza Hartwell. 

The first meeting-house was located on the Com- 
mon, in front of John B. Robinson's present resi- 
dence, where it was located to accommodate people 
from the borders of Chelmsford and Concord, who 
helped bear the cost of the building, and attended 
church here, and who, it was hoped, would be set off 
to this town by the General Court, which was peti- 
tioned to that effect for several years in succession, 
the people in question and Littleton citizens joining 
in the petition. There were six families from 
Chelmsford, and Walter Powers, John Powers, Da- 
vid Russell and John Merriam, of Concord, living on 
Nashoba Farm, who were for several years freed from 
their minister's rates in those towns, and allowed to 
pay in Littleton, and I find that at several of our 
early town-meetings, at which the town acted in 
its parochial capacity, a vote was passed allowing 
Concord, Chelmsford and Groton men to vote in 
the meeting, and at one time two Concord and 
Chelmsford men were chosen assessors to assist in 
making the rates. 

Finally, in 1725, the General Court granted the 
petition for annexation so far as related to Concord 
i'amilies, and a large tract of land extending from 
Nagog Pond nearly or quite to the Old Common, was 
added to the town, enlarging the bounds in that 
direction, probably to their present position. 

Mention is made of the meeting-house as early as 
1717, and it was probably in an unfinished condition 
at the time of Rev. Mr. Shattuck's ordination, but 
was not completed until 1723. 

It had entrances on three sides, after the custom of 
those days, with probably square pews all around the 
walls at least. No mention is made of bell, steeple 
nor gallery, and I am of the opinion it had neither. 

The building committee appear to have taken mat- 
ters rather leisurely, and the following vote was passed 
August 26, 1723: 

■" To accept tho meiiting-lrouae on couditlou that previous coinmrtteB - 

finiali seats and clapbord what is wanting as soon as possible, this fall 

& tlie cealing [sic] by next fall, or make allowance of to bare it 

done. Coniiuittee to be acquitted when work done." 

It looks as if the committee did the work them- 

The meeting-house being finished, the great ques- 
tion was how to apportion the seats in a manner satis- 
factory to all. 

It was decided in assigning the family pews, first, 
to have respect to age, and then the one having the 
highest income to have choice and so on. A com- 
mittee having the matter in charge made a report 
which is recorded in full, giving location of the seats 
assigned to various persons as follows : Eleazer Law- 
rence, the pew on the left of. the west door; Walter 
Powers, second pew fron) the pulpit, that is, as I un- 
derstand it, at the side of the pulpit, and probably to 
the east ; Joshua Fletcher, on the right of the east 
door ; Major Prescott, the pew next Mr. Shattuck's, 
that is, probably on the west side, the minister's 
being next to the pulpit; Samuel Dudley, the pew on 
the east of the pulpit ; Joseph Baker, the northeast 
corner pew ; Isaac Powers, the pew at the right of 
south door ; Moses Whitney, the pew at the left of 
south door ; Robert Robbins, the pew at the right of 
Isaac Powers', which was given up to Robert Rob- 
bins by Thomas Powers, who took Robbins' seat, the 
"fore seat below,'' that is, front seat in the main 
body; John Perham, the pew at the right of west 
door; Samuel Hunt, the northwest corner pew; John 
Wheeler, the pew at the left of Moses Whitney's ; 
Deacon Caleb Taylor, the pew at the left of the east 

For years the seating of the meeting-house, that is, 
of those not having family pews, seems to have been 
a troublesome duty, which had to be done annually, 
and it was no uncommon thing to have the first at- 
tempt of the committee rejected. The women sat on 
one side of the house and the men on the other. In 
1760 the rear seats were assigned to negroes by vote 
of the town. 

An incident occurred in 1720 which made quite a 
sensation in town at the time. It was no less than a 
witchcraft accusation which might have proved still 
more sensational had it not been for the death of the 
person accused. 

Joseph Blanchard, who lived on or near Mr. Elbridge 
Marshall's place, had at that time three young daugh- 
ters — Elizabeth, aged about eleven, Joanna, about 
nine and Mary, about five or six years. These children, 
first the eldest, then the next, and finally the young- 
est, began to act in a very strange and unaccountable 
way. Elizabeth began by telling very strange stories 
of things happening at the time, or supposed to, and 
of strange dreams ; she would also swoon into a 
trance and appear dead ; she performed sleight-of- 
hand tricks and told fortunes ; she would be found 
in strange places, such as in the top of a tree, or in a 
pond of water, asserting she flew. to the tree or wasr 



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forced into the water, and in danger of drowning, at 
which she would cry out in distsess. She also com- 
plained of pinches and prickings of the flesh, and 
showed wounds, and rents in her clothes, asserting 
she was bewitched, and accused Mrs. Dudley, wife of 
Samuel Dudley, town clerk, of bewitching her- 
When put to the test of reading Scripture she would 
read, but fall down apparently lifeless when she 
came to the words "God," "Christ," or "Holy 
Ghost.'' She would bite people, excepting Kev. Mr. 
Shattuck, whom she appeared to have no power to 

About four months after Elizabeth began to act in 
this way, Joanna also began to do the sailie things, 
and once was found on the top of the barn, a place 
apparently impossible for her to reach by her own 
exertions, and whither she said she was carried up 
through the air. -About two months later Mary be- 
gan the same actions. 

Elizabeth would often cry out, "There she is! 
there's Mrs. Dudley!" when Mrs. Dudley was no- 
where visible. Once she told her mother there was 
a little bird in a certain part of the room; her mother 
having something in her hand, struck at the place, at 
which Elizabeth cried out, " Oh, mother, you have 
hit it on the side of the head." It was afterwards 
found that Mrs. Dudley was at the same time hurt 
on one side of her face. Another time Elizabeth 
said to her mother, " There's Mrs. Dudley ; she is 
just there; coming to afflict me!" Her mother 
struck the place with something and Elizabeth cried 
out, " You have hit her on the bowels." 

It was found that .Mrs. Dudley, at the same time, 
felt a pain, took to her bed and died in a few weeks. 

On the face of this story it appears very mysteri- 
ous and inexplicable by natural causes. Blanchard 
and his wife believed the children sincere and guile- 
less, and though some wiser ones including, it is 
thought, Mr. Shattuck, advised separating the chil- 
dren by taking one or more to their homes, the parents 
would not consent to it, and the majority believed 
them bewitched. A few days after the death of Mrs. 
Dudley the strange actions of the two older children 

It "proved however, that Mrs. Dudley's death was 
perfectly accountable ; she was in a delicate condition, 
and on riding horseback behind her husband at a 
rapid rate felt something break within her. 

Though the children for a long time persisted that 
their stories had been true, and Elizabeth did not 
weaken, even when, requesting baptism, she was 
questioned by Mr. Shattuck about the circumstances, 
and told that some of her neighbors suspected her of 
falsehood ; yet eight years after the girls confessed to 
Eev. Mr. Turell, minister of Medford, to which place 
they had moved, that their stories were all false and 
that their strange actions, begun in a playful spirit of 
mischief, had been continued because they were 
ashamed to own up. 

When they heard of Mrs. Dudley's death, who, by 
the way, was a most estimable woman and againsit 
whom the children had no cause for ill-feeling, the 
two oldest children were thoroughly frightened, and 
for a long time lived in fear of a ghostly retribution. 

Elizabeth told Mr. Turell that she got her idea of 
acting in the strange manner from reading about 
witchcraft, and the other children picked it up from 

There appears to have been some friction between 
the town and Kev. Mr. Shattuck, the cause of which 
is not apparent on the records, but which led to his 
retirement from the ministry in 1730. For a year or 
two previous there was a growing opposition to him, 
manifested in the opposition to the customary vote of 
£10 to him annually, in addition to his salary, in lieu 
of paying the same into the Province treasury, and 
finally, at the April meeting in 1730, the town refused 
to appropriate his salary. Mr. Shattuck made a pro- 
position to the town through Joseph Underwood, and 
in accordance with that a committee consisting of 
Capt. Isaac Powers, Robert Robins, Samuel Corey, 
Dea. David Russell and Dea. John Wood were chosen 
at a meeting May 11, 1730, to treat with Mr. Shat- 
tuck concerning his dismissal, and the meeting ad- 
journed to the first Monday in June, when it was 
voted to refer the matter to the church, so that a 
church meeting might be called with Mr. Shattuck's 
son, for the purpose of calling a council to settle the 

The church, however, came to an agreement with 
the minister without the aid of a council, and upon 
the report of that fact to a town-meeting August 24th, 
it agreed to his dismissal by a council to be called, 
and his salary to the middle of the following May was 

The town began immediately, however, to hear 
candidates preach, and probably Mr. Shattuck did 
not ofllciate farther. 

With the prospect of a new minister the town be- 
gan to consider building a new meeting-house, and 
in December, 1730, it was voted that when the town 
should think proper to build, the location should be 
on the Ridge Hill, as it was then called, describing 
the present location of the First Congregational (Uni- 
tarian) Church. 

In the following July the town voted to call Rev. 
Daniel Rogers, who is previously referred to as " Son 
of y" worshipfull Mr. Dan'. Rogers, Esq^, which has 
Lately preached at Byfield." The word " which " 
here refers, I think, to the son, as I cannot find that 
his father was a minister. 

The town voted £200 for his settlement and a 
yearly salary of £100, but that does not seem to have 
been sufficient to secure him, and in October the oflFer 
of settlement was raised to £300 and of salary to 
£140 a year, to rise and fall with silver, the standard 
to be eighteen shillings per ounce. Mr. Rogers ac- 
cepted and was ordained March 15, 1731-32. 



There is a tradition that Mr. Rogers was descended 
from John Rogers, the martyr, but that is denied by 
so good an authority as Mr. John Ward Dean, of the 
New Engltnd Historic Genealogical Society. Mr. 
Rogers was, however, a grandson of Rev. John Rogers, 
president of Harvard College, and great-grandson of 
Rev. Nathaniel Rogers, who came from England about 
1636, and settled in Ipswich, and was born in Ips- 
wich October 17, 1706, and graduated at Harvard 
College in 1725. His first marriage was in 1734-35 to 
Mary, daughter of Rev. John Whiting, of Concord. 
She died three days after Ihe death of her child in 
February, 1738. In May, 1739, Mr. Rogers married 
for his second wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Dummer, widow 
of Samuel Dummer, of Wilmington, and daughter of 
Rev. Samuel Ruggles, of Billerica, — they had nine 

One of his sons, Jeremiah Dummer Rogets, a law- 
yer, was one of the addressers of Hutchinson in 1774, 
and removed to Boslon. He was a Tory, and, after 
the battle of Bunker Hill, was appointed commissary 
to the Royal troops that continued to occupy Chailes- 
town, and lived in a house on the present site of the 
Unitarian Church, corner of Main and Green Streets. 
At the time of the evacuation 6f Boston he went with 
other Royalists to Halifax, where he died in 1784. His 
son, of the sajne name, became a classical teacher in 
England, though a Harvard graduate, and had Lord 
Byron for one of his pupils. Daniel Rogers, another 
son of Rev. Daniel Rogers, continued to live in Lit- 
tleton, and ended his days there. 

An ordination in those days must have been quite 
?m affair. The town entertained liberally and paid 
bills for the same to the amount of £41, for Mr. 
Rogers' ordination. 

The meeting-house question came up again in 1738, 
and the question was whether to move the old one or 
build new. June 12th the town voted not to move 
the old meeting-house, and, on December 25th, voted 
to build a new one, and chose a committee of seven 
to see what to do with the old one and decide on di- 
mensions of the new one. No money appears to have 
been appropriated for the meeting-house until No- 
vember 5, 1739, and probably nothing definite was 
done until then, when £250 was voted in part. No- 
vember 19th, £350 more was appropriated, and de- 
cided that the building should be forty by fifty feet 
with twenty-three feet posts. The Building Commit- 
tee were Maj. Eleazer Lawrence, Deacon John Wood 
and Benjamin Hoar. £300 more were voted in De- 
cember, 1740, to complete the meeting-house, making 
£900 in all. The building was not completed until 
1742. Those who had private pews built them at 
their own cost, except Mr. Rogers and Mr. Shattuck, 
for whom and their families, the town built pews. 
Mr. Rogers had his at the foot of the pulpit-stairs and 
Mr. Shattuck in the rear, on the women's side. 

This meeting-house had a gallery, which the former 
one probably had not, but I have no reason to sup- 

pose there was any great change in the arrangement 
of pews from that in the old one. 

About the time of which I am writing, a serious 
trouble arose between the proprietors of Littleton and 
the town of Stow about the boundary between the two 
towns, and quite a tract of land, in what is now Box- 
borough, was claimed by Stow, but finally relinquished 
after a long lawsuit lasting many years, and after at- 
tempts to get action in favor of Stow by the Legisla- 
ture. I find records referring to the matter in 1732, 
1740 and in 1750. 

In this suit Littleton Proprietors' Record-Book was 
used as evidence, and by mistake was not returned to 
the town until Mr. Richard H. Dana, the second of 
that name, found it among some old papers, a century 
or more afterward. Littleton's counsel was Mr. Ed- 
mund Trowbridge, and I have been told that Mr. 
Dana married into the Trowbridge family. 

An addition to the territory of the town was made 
January 4, 1738^39, when the General Court granted 
the petition of Peleg Lawrence and others, of Grot on, 
so far as that they and their estates be set off to Lit- 
tleton, thereby probably establishing the present line. 
Groton did not oppose that part of the petition, but 
opposed and prevented the establishment of the line 
as originally asked for, which they claimed would in- 
clude part of their proprietors' land. Pelcg Law- 
rence lived near the brook by North Littleton Station, 
where the cellar-hole may yet be teen. 

A curious entry occurs in the town records under 
date of May 27, 1751, as follows : 

" Voted to accept Jacob negro, son of Caeear. for an inhabitant of this 
town in case Mr. Peter Reed give up the bill of sale of a* negro to the 
town and write a discharge." 

That gives the town an anti-slavery record of early 
date. Slaves were owned in town, however, much 

Within the first thirty-five years of the existence of 
the town a great many roads were laid out and re- 
corded in the town book. Most of them were merely 
paths, marked by blazed trees, following very tortu- 
ous routes, quite different from the present roads. 

For instance, the road from Chelmsford to Groton 
was through the Old Common, turning beyond Mr. 
Shattuck's (now Mrs. Eliza Hartwell't) to the right 
through Turkey Swamp and across Beaver Brook to 
the Farr place, where Mr. Chas. P. Hartwell now 
lives, then through the New Estate, turning eastward 
to Saml. Dudley's, near the mill pond, from whence 
it went to Pingreyville; a branch probably turned to 
the left past Saml. Hunt's tavern, near Mr. Peter S. 
Whitcomb's house. 

The first road to Newtown started from the Old 
Common, a short distance east of the house of the 
late Capt. Luther White. 

The road to the south part of the town passed 
Joseph Baker's, which was at a spot now marked by a 
large elm, midway between Mr. W. H. Tenney's and 
the Haley place, from whence it went past a cellar- 



;%^^^^i^^^i^ ^^t^^^.2.^:^^ 



hole and spring in the woods which locates the house 
of Capt. Joseph Harwood, and thence on through the 
valley to the place now owned by Mr. J. A. Priest, 
then owned by one of the Powers family, and so on. 

Under the system of representation in the Legisla- 
ture which was in force a century and a half ago the 
members of the lower House were elected by the 
towns, aud Littleton was obliged to send a Repre- 
sentative once in a certain number of year^, and also 
obliged to pay him. 

The result was that the town very frequently failed 
to send a Representative and was repeatedly fined by 
the General Court therefoi-. The year' following the 
fine the town would elect a Representative for the 
sole purpose, apparently, of getting the fine remitted. 
A fine or some question before the Legislature re- 
garding Littleton's territory seems to have been the 
only incentive to representation. On one occasion 
the town voted to send a Representative if any one 
would go for half- pay, and on another if for £12. In 
this last instance Captain Isaac Powers accepted the 
ofiier and was elected without opposition. 

In the year 1749 the town offered, in connection 
with some of the adjoining towns, a bounty for wolves' 
heads in addition to that ofiered by the Province, 
with the condition that the ears be cut off to prevent 
a second claim for bounty on the same head. 

Almost invariably previous to the year 1800, and 
frequently after that, it was customary to vote every 
March meeting that the swine be allowed to go at 
large the year ensuing. 

Hog-reeves were chosen, whose duty it was to 
insert a ring in each swine's nose to curtail the 
amount of damage he could do by rooting. 

Littleton was represented in the French and In- 
dian War, as she has always been in every struggle in 
behalf of the Swte and the nation, by brave and al)le 

Colonel John Porter, when only sixteen years of 
age, enlisted as a captain's waiter and was at the bat- 
tle of Ticonderoga. He was taken with the small- 
pox, and his mother, on hearing of it, hired a man to 
go and care for him. This person took the money, 
but soon reported that young Porter was dead. The 
rascal had, in fact, never been near him, but in spite 
of neglect Porter recovered, and great was the sur- 
prise and joy of his family, who lived where Deacon 
Manning now lives, to see him appear one day, weak 
after his sickness and tired, sitting to rest on a log 
near the house. 

The 19th of April, 1775, found him returning from 
Beverly through Lexington. The British troops had 
just marched out toward Concord. Porter procured 
a gun and ammunition of a Lexington farmer, leav- 
ing his horse as security, and joined the minute-men 
who fought the regulars on their return from Con- 

He served all through the Revolution, enlisting as 
ensign and working up to be lieutenant, captain, 

adjutant and major. At one time he was a recruiting 
officer, and also served on the staff of Gen. Lafayette. 
He was at the battle of Bennington and afterward 
sent home three or four of the Hessians there cap- 
tured, to work as laborers on his farm, while he re- 
mained at the front. He was present at the surren- 
der of Cornwallis. 

HiS title of colonel was acquired in the militia, 
after the war. Colonel Porter was a man of great 
force" of "character, but had only such education as he 
picked up himself. 

It is said that his wife taught him to read. 

Previous to the outbreak of the French War, on 
July- 14,. 1748, Jonathan Lawrence, Jr., and Ephraim 
Powers, of Littleton, were in a squad of seventeen 
men, who were traveling from Northfield to Fort 
Dummer and Ashuelot. They were attacked by In- 
dians, who captured Lawrence and took him to Can- 
ada. Powers was stripped of clothing, arms and 
ammunition and wounded in the head. In the latter 
part of the war we find Jonathan Lawrence in Capt. 
Leonard Whiting's company in 1760-61 in the "ex- 
pedition for the total reduction of Canada," and with 
him the following other Littleton men : Sergt. Peter 
Procter, Sergt. Peter Fox, Ephraim Corey, Jonathan 
Hartwell, who died in the expedition, George Hiber, 
Joseph Hartwell, Robert Procter, Josiah Procter, 
Moses Shattuck, David Stimpson, Samuel Tredwell, 
David Trull, Abel Whitcomb, Silas Whitcomb and 
Benjamin Worster. Captain Whiting then lived in 
Weatford, but soon after moved to Littleton, where 
he kept tavern and was living here from 1764 to 1772 
at least. He afterwards lived in Hollis, N. H., and 
was a Tory during the War of the Revolution. 

By the courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society I am enabled to copy from the original jour- 
nal of Lieutenant-Colonel John Winslow, dated 
Bason of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, May 28, 1755, 
the names of many residents or natives of Littleton. 
It reads : 

*' A Return of Lieutenaut Col^ John Winslows Company in the First 
Battallion of his Excellency, Gov Shirley's Begiments, raisi for the re- 
moving the French Encroachments from his Majesty's Government of 
Nova Scotia, Showing the names of the nou-Commishd officers and Priv- 
ate men their station age Place of Birth Last residence and occupa _ 
tion. . 
*' John Trainer, Private, 19, Leyth. Scotland, Littleton, Baker. 

Capt. Bumphrei/ Hobbt Compa, 
Ephraim Warrin, Private, 18, Littleton, Littleton, Lab'. 

Captain Osgood Company. 
Isaac Lawrance, Serjant, 24, Littleton, Littleton, Cooper. 
David Powers, Corporal, 30, Littleton, Littleton, Husbandman. 
Walter Powers, Private, 23, Littleton, Littleton, Husbandman. 
Isaac Whitcombe, Private, 21, Littleton, Littleton, Cordwainer. 
Abel Hunt, Private, 22, Littleton, Littleton, Husbandman. 
Peter Hunt, Private, 26, Littleton,,Littleton, Cordwainer. 
John Robins, Private, 28, Littleton, Littleton, Cooper. 
Charles Robins, Private, 25, Littleton, Littleton, Brickmaker. 
Timothy Oobleigh, Private, 17, Littleton, Littleton, Laborer. 
Ephraim Wheeler, Private, 2D, Littleton, Littleton, Cordwainer. 
Abner Whitcombe, Private, 21, LittletoD, Littleton, Husbandman. 



Benja Munrow, Private, 19, Lexington, Littleton, Lal)orer. 
Pliineas Parlier, Private, 21, Groton, Littleton, Husbandman. 
James Miller, Private, 20, Billerica, Littleton, Brickmaker. 
Thomas Whitcomb, Private, 19, Littleton, Littleton, Laborer. 

Major Joseph Fnjes Company. 
John AdamB, Private, 19, Littleton, Andover, Cordwainer. 

Major William Bourns Company. 
Thomas Edwards, Private, 22, Littleton, Oxford, Carpenter. 

Captain Elijah Willarda Company. 
Aaron Taylor, Corporal, 25, Littleton, Lunenburgb, Husbandman. 
Tirno Baker, Private, 24, Littleton, Petersham, Taylor. 
John Taylor, Private, 25, Littleton, Lunenburgb, Laborer. 

Captain Ephraim Jones Company. 
Oliver Edward, Private, 20, Littleton, Stow, Laborer. 
Eliot Powers, Private, 22, Littleton, Acton, Husbandman." 

Capt. John Fox, of Littleton, was also in the French 
War. He returned sick from the expedition on the 
Kennehec Eiver, and after six weeks' illness died. 

Others of his family took the same disease from 
him, and on petition from his wife the Legislature 
granted money in aid of herself and family. Capt. 
Fox kept tavern in the Centre, and after his death 
his wife continued the business. 

As we approach the period of the War of the 
. Revolution, it is well to take, as far as we are able, 
a general view of the town. What was Littleton in 
those days, we ask ? Not so very different from the 
Littleton of to-day, 

The population varied not more than one hundred 
from the present, though the territory was larger, in- 
cluding a large section of Boxborough, and therefore 
the people were rather more scattered. In the year 
1776 the population was 918. 

The church stood on the same spot as the present 
Unitarian Church. The town had just bought a new 
bell, and had hung it not on the church, but on a 
convenient frame near by. The committee to buy it, 
reported that it was made in " this Province," and 
cost £78 0«. %d. Very many of the names now famil- 
iar were then in town, such as Eobbins, Lawrence, 
Whitcomb, Tuttle, Taylor, Hartwell, Jewett, Harwood, 
Tenney, Sanderson, Reed, Brown, Proctor, Warren, 
Hoar, Dodge, Kimball, Patch and others. Even the 
farms are in many cases held in the same families 
now as then. 

It is very interesting to trace the groypth of public 
sentiment in town concernicg the relations of the 
colonies with the mother country. 

The indignation at the exactions and oppressive acts 
of the British government was spontaneous and unani- 
mous ; but later ou, when protests, entreaties and de- 
mands had not availed, and matters wore a more serious 
aspect, when it began to dajvn upon the colonists that 
their only hope for justice lay in revolution, then it 
was that a difference of opinion was evolved, which in- 
creased with the progress of events until the line 
between patriot and Tory was clearly drawn. 

When we think of how the colonists, with their 
scanty resources and slight preparation, resisted, made 
war on and finally vanquished the greatest power on 
earth, it seems as if they accomplished impossibilities, 
which it would be madness to attempt. 

It was not strange, then, that there were many con- 
servative and intelligent people, who considered it 
folly to attempt to resist the government of England; 
they deprecated the state of affairs, but saw no pros- 
pect of relief in war, and in most cases were further 
influenced in their opinions by ties of friendship and 
relation to the mother country. That class was rep- 
resented in Littleton by Rev. Daniel Rogers and at 
least one of his sons, also by Capt. Joseph Harwood, 
and his son of the same name, as well as by others. 
Mr. Rogers was then an old man, had been pastor for 
many years, and was universally loved and respected. 
He was a cultured and refined gentleman, a graduate 
of Harvard College, and connected with some of the 
best families in the Province. His sons were able and 
educated men, and took an active part in town affairs. 
Others of the Tory sympathizers were prominent men 
in town and, with Dummer Rogers, had been the lead- 
ers so long as matters had drifted along in the old 
way ; but when the issue came, and feeling began to 
run high, they found thenaselves a small minority, 
and had to suffer the consequences at the intense feel- 
ing which prevailed against them. 

They were suddenly dropped from the list of town 
ofBcers and vigorously dealt with, Many of them 
were put under guard, including one of the writer's 
ancestors, and even Rev. Mr. Rogers was summoned 
by an armed squad to come out of his house and de- 
clare his principles. When he hesitated, perhaps 
considering it beneath his dignity to comply with 
such a demand, a volley was fired into his front door. 
The bullets passed through the door and entered 
the casing just below the stairs upon which Mr. 
Rogers was standing. He then complied. He lived 
where Mr. George Whitcomb now lives, in the house 
which has since been moved down the hill toward 
Mr. Frost's. Many persons, including the writer, 
have seen the bullet-holes in the old door, which has 
since been replaced by a new one, and those in the 
casing may be seen to-day. 

Of the patriots, William Henry Prentice seems to 
have been one of the leaders. He kept a tavern at 
or near where Mr. Everett E. Kimball lives, and we 
may readily imagine that as the headquarters where 
each evening the earnest patriot farmers, many of 
them minute-men, gathered to hear the latest news 
from Boston and to discuss it excitedly over mugs of 

To go back now to 1770. The following article, 
copied from the Boston Oazette of March 12th, of that 
year, the same issue in which appeared an account of 
the Boston Massacre, so called, gives an idea of the 
unanimous feeling in the town over the taxes imposed 
by Parliament on imported goods: 

^ i'i 



" At a Meeting of the Inhabitants of the Town of Litttleton, in the 
Cownty of Middlesex, on Monday, Mar, 5, 1770, a Committee waa chosen 
to prepare certnin Votes to be passed by the Town relating to the Impor- 
tation of Bi'itish Goods who after retiring a Short Time into a private 
Room, returned and reported the following which was unanimously 

"The grievous Impositions the Inhabitants of the British Colonies 
bave long snflTered from their Mother Country, strongly claim their At- 
tention to every legal Method for their Removal. We esteem the Meas- 
ure already proposed, vie. ; the withdrawing our Trade from England, 
both oeconomical and eflFectual. We do therefore Vote 

"1. That we willHot(knowingly), directly or indirectly, purchase any 
Goods which now are or hereafter may be imported conirary to the 
Agreement of the Merchants of the Town of Boston. 

"2. That if any Inhabitant of the town of Littleton shall be known 
to purchase any one Article of an Importer of Goods contrary to the be- 
fore mentioned Agreement or of any one who shall buy of any such Im- 
porter he sball suffer our high Displeasure and Contempt. 

" 3. That a Committee be chosen to inspect the Conduct of all Buyers 
and Sellers of Goods in this Town, and report the Names of all (if any 
euch there should be) who shall violate the true Spirit and Intention of 
the above-mentioned Votes and Eesolutions. 

"4. That we will not drink or purchase any foifign Tea howsoever 
Imported until a general Importation of British Goods shall take 

The committee who reported these resolutions 
were Samuel Tutile, Leonard Whiting, Samuel Rog- 
ers, Robert Harris and Nathan Raymond. 

Matters went on from bad to worse throughout the 
Colonies, and in November, 1772, when Boston under 
the leadership of Samuel' Adams came to an issue 
with Governor Hutchinson about the stipendiary 
judges, and the rights of towns to discuss such mat- 
ters, and the Boston Committee of Correspondence 
was chosen, with instructions to appeal to all the 
towns in the Province, ** that," as they said, " the col- 
lected wisdom and fortitude of the whole people 
might dictate measures for the rescue of their happy 
and glorious Constitution.'' A letter and pamphlet 
were received from the Boston Committee of Corre- 
spondence, and at a town-meeting in Littleton, De- 
cember 31st, it was voted to choose a committee of 
five to consider the same and make a report to the 
town. The committee consisted of J. Dummer Rog- 
ers, Jona. Reed, Captain Joseph Harwood, Sr., Cap- 
tain Josiah Hartwell and Samuel Reed. 

From this time we must date the division of this 
town into patriots and Tories. The committee was 
divided in their report, which was made at au ad- 
journed meeting for that purpose on February 1, 1773. 

The majority of the committee, which we can confi- 
dently assume included Dummer Rogers and Captain 
Harwood, reported verbally "not to have the town 
act any further upon that article." That was the con- 
servative view, represented by those who must thence- 
forth be called Tories. They feared a conflict with the 
authorities, and tried to smother the correspondence 
with Samuel Adams and the Boston patriots. 

The town rejected the majority report, and then ac- 
cepted the draft of a paper laid before them, and 
chose a Committee of Correspondence. 

At the annual meeting, March 1, 1773, the draft, 
amended by the addition of more grievances, was ac- 
cepted and ordered to be transmitted, with a respect- 

ful letter of thanks, to the Boston Committee of Cor- 
This amended paper was as follows : 

"The British Constitution appears to us to he the best calc\ilnted to 
answer the ends which mankind proposed to themselves in forsaking 
the natural state of Independence and entering into Society tlian per- 
haps any form of Government under Heaven, as here we find a more 
perfect union of the three Great Qualities of Government thtin could be 
expected in any other form; it is therefore of high Importance that 
those who live under this Constitution should in all proper wnys en- 
deavor to preserve it Inviolate ; it was the Hsippiness of our forefathers 
who came into this Land to bring with them the Liberties and Immuni- 
ties of Englishmen and to be entitled to the Privileges of the British Con- 
stitution, under which they and their Descendants have enjoyed great 
Security and Happiness. But in consequence of some acts of the British 
Parliament, which are daily executing by officers and men unknown in 
the Charter of the Province, whereby a Revenue is imposed on this as 
well as the other Colonies, and extorted from us and appropriated to 
most destructive purposes, the establishing the salaries of several of the 
first men in this Province, and also of the Judges of the Superior Court, 
thereby making them independent of the people, and making them de- 
pend on the Crown for their support, the gri^at extension of the power 
of the Courts of Admiralty, the unlimited authority of the Board of Con^- 
raissioners of his Majesty's Customs; all which we look upon to be great 
grievances ; the quartering of soldiers upon us in time of peace, without 
our consent; the demanding and giving up Castle William, our chief 
fortress, into the hands of those over whom our Governor has declared he 
has no control, is a great violation of one of our Charter Kighta— for 
thereby the Governor for the time being has full power to erect Forts, 
and to furnish them with all things necessary, and to commit the cus- 
tody of the same to such person or persons as to him shall seem meet. 
The frequent alterations of the Boundaries between this and the other 
colonies we think we have just reason to complain of; for thereby the 
property of many hundreds of the inhabitants of this province are in- 

*' We are greatly alarmed by a late act of the British Parliament en- 
titled An Act for the better preserving his Majestys Dock Yards, Maga- 
zines, Ships, Ammunitions and Stores ; By this act any person may be 
apprehended on the moat groundless pretence and carried to any part of 
Great Britain for trial ; the thoughts of which is enough to make any 
person having the least sense of the freedom of an Englishman tremble. 
By this act we are deprived of one of the most essential of our Charter 
Privileges, that of Trial by our Peers in this Vicinity.' 

" We are further of the opinion that if the measures so justly com- 
plained of by the Provinces and the other Colonies on this continent are 
persisted in and enforced by fleets and armies, they will, in a little time 
we fear, issue in the total dissolution of the TJnioh of the Mother Coun- 
try and the Colonics, to the entire loss of the former, and regret of the 
latter— as the General Assembly is now sitting, who are the constitui- 
tional guardians of the rights of the people, we hope that Assembly will 
take every reasonable measure to obtain removal of all our grievances ; 
we shall always be ready to join with the towns of this province in a 
regular and constitutional method in preserving our liberties and privi- 

Note how carefully the town considered the matter 
and of what importance it was deemed. 

It was the decisive step in the policy of the town, 
and took three town-meetiags to settle it, covering 
nearly the whole winter. 

There was no wavering or vacillation, but no haste. 

At the Middlesex Convention, held in Concord, 
August 31, 1774, Littleton was represented by Captain 
Josiah Hartwell, Oliver Hoar and Daniel Kogers, Jr.', 
and in the first Provincial Congress by . Abel Jewett 
and Robert Harris. 

The town records show conclusively that with the 
opening of the year 1775 the approaching crisis w^s 
felt to be near at hand and was prepared for. 

Had we any full and accurate history of the events 



of that year, we should be astonished at the activity 
and careful preparation. 

There were at least two companies in the course of 
that year officered by Littleton men, and made up, in 
a large majority, of privates from this town, a few be- 
ing from the adjoining towns. 

We may imagine them with the early spring, 
which was a month in advance of the usual season, 
holding frequent drills and uausters, and the town 
must then have been aglow with military spirit and 
enthusiasm, which has never been equaled since. 

The 19th of April came, and in the early morning 
a messenger on horseback rode into town with the 
news that the regulars were on the march to Concord. 

The horseman then hurried over Beaver Brook 
bridge, near Mr. Frost's house, and proceeded to warn 
other towns. 

The Littleton men mustered, ammunition to the 
amountof fourteen pounds of powder and thirty-eight 
pounds of bullets was dealt out of the common stock, 
and the whole squad, including many unenlisted vol- 
unteers, proceeded to Concord, and thence to Cam- 

The following is the muster-roll of Lieutenant 
Aquila Jewett's company who marched that day : 

Aquila Jewett, lieutenant ; John Porter, Matthew Brooks, Bergeanta ; 
Daniel Whitcomb, corporal. 

PrivateB, Samuel Lawrence, Jonathan Lawrence, Charles White, Ben- 
jamin Warren, Joseph Bobbins, Samuel Hartwell, Silas Whitcomb, 
Klisha Bobbins, Joseph Worster, Peter Fox, Job Dodge, Joseph Jewett, 
Joseph Bussell, Thomas Lawrence, Nathan Chase, Willard Merriam, 
Benjamin Moore, Maxi Jewett, Nathaniel Proctor, Moses Sanderson, 
Joseph Raymond, Ebenezer Phillips, Israel Hinds, Simeon Proctor, 
Samuel Tennoy (4th), John Dix, William Tenney, Eleazer Lawrence, 
Thomas Kussell, Benjamin Hoar, Benjamin Hartwell, John Green, John 
Whiting, Jr., Stephen Tuttle, Thomas Stearns, Sampson Warren, Daniel 
Tuttle, Pet«r Reed, Oliver Hartwell, Thomas Wood, Benjamin Worster, 
John Tuttle. 

A few of the men dropped out at Concord, but the 
most of them are putdown as having marched twenty- 
six miles and having served nineteen days. 

Jonathan Warren and Nathaniel Whitcomb also 
received ammunition, and so were probably either in 
another company or went as unenlisted volunteers. 

Among the rolls of the army at Cambridge made up 
to August 1, 1775, is another company, mostly com- 
posed of Littleton men, which was probably organ- 
ized after the Concord fight. The list is as follows : 

Captain, Samuel Gilbert ; Lieutenants, Joseph Gilbert, Joseph Baker, 
Jr. ; Sergeants, Daniel Kimball, Jacob Porter, Thomas Treadwell, 
Ephraim Proctor ; Corporals, Ezra Baker, Jonathan Cowdrey. 

Privates, Joseph Baker, Cornelius Bachelor, Benjamin Cox, Lemuel 
Dole, James Dutton, Benjamin Durunt, John Dinsnioie, Benjamin Dole 
William Farr, Samuel Hunt, Joseph Heywood, Moses Holden, Isaac Law- 
rence, Peter Cummings Gilbert, Elijah Proctor, Jonathan Phelps, Samuel 
Phillips, Paul Bobbins, John Robbins, Isaac Russell, Nathaniel Russell 
Oliver Sawyer, James Whittemore, Peter Whitcomb, Isaac Whitcomb — 

with others from Lancaster, Dunstable and other 

This company of Captain Gilbert's was also in Colo- 
nel PresCotl's regiment, and took part in the battle of 
Bunker Hill, in which were killed Peter Whitcomb,'' 

Benjamin Dole, John Lawrence, James Whittemore 
and Isaac Whitcomb. 

In addition to those whose names have been given, 
the following served for Littleton in the continental 
army, at various times, during the war : 

Amos Atherton, Paul Brown, Peter Baker, Timothy Baker, William 
Burke, John Cavender, Joseph Carter, Henry Durant, Jason Dunster, 
Jesse Dutton, David Baker, John Brown, Lucius Bluncliurd, Seipio 
Chase, Hildrelh Dutton, Joseph Dole, John Dodge, John Dix, Jonathan 
Fletcher, John Foster, Solomon Foster, Jonathan Langlee Fisher, James 
Holden, John Hartwell, Captain Aai-on Jewett, William Johnson, 
W^illiam Johnson, Jr., John Kilburn, Abel Lawrence, Reuben Leighlon, 
Joseph Lewis, Jonathan Longley, Joseph Longley, Seipio Negro, Thomas 
Nutting, Peter Oliver, Charles Phipps, Timothy Proctor, Samuel Pool, 
Abel Proctor, Amos Parling, Jr., Zachary Rohhina, Jonathan Russell, 
John Russell, Jr., Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Reed, Samuel Reed, 
Samuel Reed, Jr., Artemas Reed, Nathaniel Reed, William Smith, 
Samuel Stearns, Levi Shepherd, Robert Sever, Amos Shed, William Ten- 
ney, Jeremiah Temple, Jonathan Tuttle, John Wood (Sd), Sergeant 
Peter Wheeler, Peter Wright, Stephen Wright, Jacob Warren, Samuel 
White, William Whiting, Jonathan Wetherbee, Second Lieutenant 
Ephraim Whitcomb, Paul Whitcomb. 

These names have been collected by the writer 
from the Revolutionary rolls in the Slate archives, 
and from town records and vouchers. The number is 
surprisingly large. That 150 men, or nearly seventy- 
five per cent, of the male population, of military age, 
should have taken part in the war, speaks volumes 
for the patriotism of the town, and, as well, shows the 
desperate character of the struggle. The male popu- 
lation of sixteen years of age, and over, was only 209 
on January 1, 1777. 

The smoke from the burning of Charlestown was 
distinctly seen in Littleton, and caused great alarm. 

In May the town had voted to purchase a stock of 
fire-arms with bayonets, the number to be left to the 
discretion of the selectmen, who were that year 
Major Jonathan Eeed, Jonathan Patch, Samuel Gil- 
bert, William Henry Prentice and Aaron Jewett. 
Notice that three out of the five afterwards served as 
ofiicers in the continental army. 

At a town-meeting held June 17, 1776, at which 
William Henry Prentice was moderator, the follow- 
ing vote, in accordance with the recommendation of 
the General Court, was passed after some debate and 
motions to adjourn, which were not carried : 

" If the Hon' Congress should, for the Sofety of ths Colonies, Declare 
them Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Inhabitants of 
Littleton engage to support them in the measure." 

On October 14th following, the town voted its con- 
sent to the plan proposed by a resolve of the House 
of Representatives that the Council and House should 
propose a State Constitution to be submitted to the 

In March, 1777, the town voted a bounty of £18 in 
addition to the State bou nty, for every three years' 
soldier who should make one for its quota, and also 
voted " to take up the matter at large from the 19th of 
April, 1775, and Chuse a Committee to apprise each 
Campaign and make an Everage according to their 
poles and Rateable Estates, as other Taxes are Levied, 
and that each man shall have credite for what he has 

0(^^^^'nyt^t^^^ ^tr7'ijeh'- 



As the war progressed and more men were called 
for, it became difBcnlt to procure them, and no won- 
der, when we consider the great number who went 
from this small town, and at one meeting it was im- 
possible to choose a committee who would serve to 
hire men. 

The fluctuations of continental money were ex- 
tremely embarrassing, and a large number of bounties 
were paid in rye and other produce, which was pre- 
ferred to paper money. As high as £2550 in paper 
money was paid for a single bounty. 

On December 21, 1780, the town voted " 100 hard 
dollars or other specie equivalent & 1 Pr. good shirts, 
shoes & stockings, to be delivered yearly in October, 
BO long as they serve, to all soldiers who enlist accord- 

By summing up the various appropriations for the 
payment of soldiers and purchase of supplies, as re- 
corded on the town records, I find they amount to the 
enormous sum of £126,172 16s. lOd, or iLs equiva- 
lent in produce. 

It must be remembered, towever, that this was not 
all hard money, but much of it was continental paper 
currency. While on the other hand it is probable 
that this sum does not include a great deal of money 
which was paid out on account of the war, but did not 
appear under specific appropriations. 

Captain Aaron Jewett was a delegate from Little- 
ton to the Constitutional Convention of 1779. This 
gentleman, after serving in the war, became a Shaker, 
and was one of the founders of the Harvard Shakers. 

Rev. Mr. Rogers, being quite advanced in years, 
asked a dismission in January, 1776. Not desiring to 
have him sever his connection with them, the church 
voted not to dismiss him, whereupon Mr. Rogers pro- 
posed that he continue his relations to the church as 
minister, but relinquish his salary in future and be 
released from obligation to perform ministerial ser- 

This proposition was accepted, and the town began 
to look for a colleague, and it is noticeable that at this 
time the initiative in ecclesiastical matters was taken by 
the church meeting, which first took action, and after- 
wards the town voted on concurrence. After calling 
two ministers as colleagues, first Mr. Wheaton, then 
Mr. John BuUard, who do not appear to have accepted, 
and then waiting for some time, finally in October, 
1780, Mr. Edmund Foster was called, and accepted, at 
a salary of £80 a year, based on the value of certain 
articles of consumption, such as corn, pork, beef, &c., 
as recorded, and a settlement of £200. 

Mr. Foster was ordained at Littleton January 
17, 1781, and succeeded to the ministry on the death 
of Mr. Rogers, in November, 1782. 

Mr. Foster was born in North Reading, Massachu- 
setts, April 18, 175-2, and was left an orphan when 
seven years old ; he worked his way through Yale 
College, and afterwards studied for the ministry. 
Both Harvard and Yale conferred honorary degrees 

upon him. While a divinity student he shouldered 
his musket and went to face the enemy at Concord 
and Lexington. 

He represented his district both in the Senate and 
House, after the War of 1812 (in which three of his 
sons held commissions) ; on one occasion he preached 
the Election sermon, and was a delegate to the Con- 
.stitutional Convention of 1820. He died March 28, 
1826, in the forty-sixth year of his ministry. 

Mr. Foster assumed his duties as colleague to Mr. 
Rogers under very adverse circumstances ; he was 
called against the opposition of a minority, who re- 
corded a protest signed by forty-six persons. The 
town was impoverished by the cost of the war, and in 
1782-88 by severe drouth, and was in the midst of 
the hardest times ever seen in this country. 

It was found difiicult to raise his salary, and he was 
obliged on one occasion to bring suit before he got it. 
The town settled and paid costs. 

The hard times, as is always the case, made discon- 
tent, the church was badly out of repair, so much so 
that it had to be propped up, and furthermore a 
movement was started a few years before Mr. Foster 
came to set off the south part of the town for the pur- 
pose of forming a new parish, which resulted in the 
formation of first the district and finally the town of 

The first reference to this matter appears in the 
town records under date of November 4, 1778, when 
the town chose a committee consisting of Deacon 
Josiah Hartwell, Jonathan Reed, Esq. and Mr. Dan- 
iel Rogers, Jr., to wa,it on the General Court and 
show reason why the south part of the town should 
not be set off as petitioned for. The same committee 
was chosen for the same purpose in the following 
February, and in July there was an article in the 
town warrant to see if the town would " vote off " 
that part of the town to form a new parish, with parts 
of Stow and Harvard. The town voted against it. 

In October, 1780, a vote was passed to take the 
names of those who wished to be set off, and it is re- 
corded that Bennet Wood, Phis Wetherbee, Israel 
Wetherbee, Abel Fletcher, Ephraim Whitcomb, Ed- 
ward Brown and Boston Draper appeared. 

In February, 1781, the town again chose a com- 
mittee to oppose the petition to the General Court. 
This attempt to form a new town or parish was a 
failure, as had been the previous one, but in March, 
1782, Silas Taylor and sixty-nine others petitioned 
the General Court again, stating that they were at a 
great distance from the meeting-houses in the towns 
to which they belong, to remedy which they had built 
a house for public worship in a convenient place and 
procured preaching much of the time for several 
years previous, but had not been excused from paying 
for the support of preaching in some of the towns to 
which they belonged, and praying to be incorporated 
into a town, district or parish. The petition was re- 
ferred to the second session, in September, when the 



committee to which it had been referred reported 
that the petitioners who belonged to the towns of 
Stow and Harvard should be incorporated into a dis- 
trict with such of the inhabitants of Littleton as were 
included in the petition, and should, within the apace 
of twelve months, signify that they desired to belong 
to the said district and no other. 

Littleton people had evidently been caught nap- 
ping, but as soon as they learned of the report of the 
committee they sent to the General Court two remon- 
strances, one signed by the selectmen and the other 
by Samuel Lawrence, Elias Taylor, Thomas Wood, 
Daniel Whitcomb, Jonathan Patch, Nathaniel Cob- 
leigh, John Wood, Solomon Foster and Jedediah 
Taylor, living within the bounds of the proposed dis- 
trict. It was, however, too late, and a bill was passed 
February 25, 1783, which, after stating the bounda- 
ries, said : " And all the Polls and Estates that are 
included within the said boundaries shall belong to 
said District, except those of such of the inhabitants 
of that part set off from Littleton as shall not, within 
the term of twelve months from the passing of this 
Act, return their names unto the office of the Secre- 
tary of this Commonwealth, signifying their desire to 
become inhabitants of the said District." The result 
of this was, that while a number returned their names 
as desiring to join the new diistrict, yet others, to the 
number of thirteen or more, did not, but preferred to 
remain in Littleton. 

In June, 1793, Boxborough, which had become a 
town, petitioned the General Court to establish an 
obvious and uncontrovertible boundary between that 
town and Littleton, against which the thirteen citi- 
zens of Littleton who had the right to join Boxbor- 
ough, but had not done so, remonstrated, stating that 
they believed the object of the petition was " more to 
divide them from the town of Littleton than to ascer- 
tain more certain boundaries." Thereupon the Lpg- 
islature passed the act of February 20, 1794, which 
gave the owners of such farms lying on the Boxbor- 
ough side of the straight line which was originally 
proposed as the boundary, and who had not joined 
Boxborough in accordance with the act of 1783, the 
right to apply to Boxborough to have their polls and 
estates belong to that town, and the same was to be 
accomplished upon the vote of Boxborough and 
proper notice to the town of Littleton. This right 
was to go with the ownership of the land. In the 
course of time all the farms in question had been 
transferred to Boxborough save two, owned in 1868 
by Henry T. Taylor and Wm. H. Hartwell. At that 
time Boxborough petitioned the Legislature to have 
those farms set off to her, but was unsuccessful. 
Another attempt was made before the Legislature of 
the present year, 1890. It was met by opposition on 
the part of the owners of the two farms, now Deacon 
Henry T. Taylor and Mrs. Olive Hall, and the town 
of Littleton, who remonstrated and filed a counter- 
petition, asking for a new line between the two towns, 

which leaves the greater part of the two farms and 
the buildings on the Littleton side, as well as a small 
place, formerly in Boxborough, lying between them on 

Liberty Square, and owned by Wild, thus doing 

away with the previous provisions allowing a transfer 
to Boxborough. The Littleton petition was granted 
and a bill passed in accordance with it. The Taylor 
farm is the same which was owned, in 1783, by Dea- 
con Elias Taylor, the ancestor of Deacon Henry T. 
Taylor, having remained in the family from that 
time. The Hall farm was then owned by Samuel 
Lawrence, and was the same where the Lawrence 
Tavern was kept, the sign to which bore the legend 
" Pay To-Day & Trust To-morrow," with the picture 
of an officer with a drawn sword, below which was 
the word " Entertainment" and date 1768. 

As has been stated, the meeting-house was out of 
repair at the time Mr. Foster came to Littleton, and 
for several years the question of building a new one 
or repairing the old one was agitated, and many votes 
on the subject were passed and afterwards reconsid- 
ered. Finally, on December 31, 1792, the decisive 
vote passed to build anew on the same spot, and the 
town proceeded to erect its third meeting-house, 
" 40x55 feet, with a steeple and porches." It was com- 
pleted in the summer of 1794, and was a very impos- 
ing structure and really fine for its period. A new 
bell was procured in 1808. ■ 

The meeting-house appears never to have been 
heated except by religious fervor or a town-meeting 
discussion until 1818, when, in January, the town 
voted to have two stoves, provided they were given by 
subscription. They must have been popular, for in 
October, 1820, it was thought best to vote " that the 
town considers that the stove pews are appropriated 
to elderly people." 

The history of the way in which paupers have 
been cared for in this town is rather interesting. The 
first pauper on record was the widow, Thanks Dill, 
concerning whom there appears to have been a ques- 
tion between this town and Concord as to where she 
belonged. The poor woman was carried back and 
forth from one town to the other and finally died in 
Littleton in 1733, whereupon the town expended nine 
shillings for rum for her funeral and a further sum 
for gloves used on the same occasion. It was a 
common thing to carry paupers to other towns to get 
rid jof them, and to warn out of town persons who 
were likely to become a charge against the town. 

In 1787 paupers were put out by vendue, among 
them several illegitimate children. In 1798 the town 
voted to hire a house for the town's poor. The town 
farm was purchased in 1825. 

Any one walking up Everett E. Kimball's lane to 
the top of Long Pond Hill will see the remains of a 
road which formerly ran where the lane is over the 
highest part of the hill to the Haley place. The 
recordsshow that this road, from William Henry Pren - 
tice's to Edward Baker's, as it was described, was ex- 

.' Hi -•■ 


The present Residence of DAVID HALL, 

This sign now hangs in the Reuben Hoar Library, to which it was 
presented by Mrs. William H. Hartwell. 









changed, in 1789, for the present road to Newtown, 
turning off by the present residence of William H. 
Tenney, and that the road was turned a little to one 
side so as not to obstruct Dea. Oliver Hoar's " out 
seller," thus showing the antiquity of Mr. Tenney "s 
side-hill cellar. 

In 1801 the town voted to buy a piece of land of 
Mr. Rogers and others in _front of the meeting-house 
to enlarge the road and Common. The line, as then 
located, ran very close to where the rear wall of the 
town-hall now stands, and a strip was added to give 
space behind the building when it was erected in 

The town records make no allusion to the War of 
1812, but from other sources the names of three Lit- 
tleton men who served have been obtained as follows: 
Sampson Warren, who returned from the war sick 
and died atlome, Micajah Rice and Reuben Durant. 
No doubt others from this town also served in that 

December 4, 1815, Rev. Mr. Foster preached a cen- 
tury sermon on the history of the town. It was an 
able and intere.sting discourse and the writer is in- 
debted to it for much information. From it we learn 
that the post-office at that time was on the " great 
road," probably at the "'long store," now the dwell- 
ing-house of Charles F. Watts. The town voted to 
print three hundred copies of Mr. Foster's sermon to 
distribute to every family and sell the rest for the 
benefit of Mr. Foster. 

Up to 1822 there had been but one church, the town 
church, and as -we have seen, church business was 
done in town-meeting by the town acting in its ca- 
pacity as a parish. 

On March 14, 1821, the Baptist Society was organ- 
ized with twelve members. It had been iutmJud to 
. on 'the 7tu, but the town voted to xefute- them 


the U3 g of the eh«i ' ch for that purpooc on that date 
Rev. Benjamin Willard had preached for the Baptists 
previous to their organization at various times from 
1820 and until 1823. There was also preaching in 
the interest of other denominations about this time. 

In April, 1821, the town voted leave to Aaron Tat- 
tle and others to have preaching in the West School- 
house on Sundays. 

These inroads on his flock were naturally distaste- 
ful to Mr. Foster and he took vigorous measures to 
oppose them. On several occasions he attended the 
meetings and addressed the audience in refutation of 
the doctrines there promulgated, and once he took 
possession of the meeting with the announcement 
that he was the minister of the town, and proceeded 
to conduct the services and then dismissed the audi- 
ence, so that they had no opportunity to hear the 
speakers who were present to address them. 

In the church Mr. Foster had ruling elders appoint- 
ed to assist him in bringing back to communion those 
who absented themselves to hear the " itinerant and 
disorderly preachers." A few were brought back, but 

many joined the Baptist Society and all received in- 
dividually a vote of public censure. 

The Baptists built their first meeting-house in 1822, 
on the corner of the road leading to the north part of 
the town, where now stands the house of the late John 
P. Tuttle. It was built of brick, and was dedicated 
July 9, 1823. Rev. Amaaa Sanderson was ordained 
their minister at the same time and continued his 
pastorate until March 23, 1831. 

The succeeding Baptist ministers have been : Rev. 
Silas Kenney, 1831-34 ; Rev. 0. Ayer, 1837-43 ; Rev. 
T. H. Lunt, April, 1844, to March, 1845 ; Rev. Aaron 
Haynes, April, 1845-47; Rev. B. H. Clift, June, 1847, 
to February, 1848 ; Rev. George Matthews, May, 
1848-52 ; Rev. F. E. Cleaves, June, 1852, to October, 
1857 ; Rev. D. F. Lampson, July, 1858, to April, 
1861 ; Rev. C. M. Willard, August, 1861, to Novem- 
ber, 1867 ; Rev. C. L. Frost, August, 1868, to June, 
1869; Rev. J. F. Morton, September, 1869, to Sep- 
tember, 1872 ; Rev. B. N. Sperry, January, 1873, to 
May, 1875; Rev. William Read, July, 1875, to May, 
1878 ; Rev. Paul Gallaher, November, 1878, to No- 
vember, 1880 ; Rev. W. H. Evans, December, 1880, 
to July, 1883 ; Rev. R. G. Johnson, December, 1883, 
to August, 1888; Rev. William J. Clones, September, 

The brick meeting-house was burned, probably by 
an incendiary August 5, 1840, and the present wooden 
one built at the Old Common and dedicated in June, 
1841. Within a few years it has been raised and a 
vestry built in the basement. 

After the death of Mr. Foster the town voted, Octo- 
ber 29, 1827, to cail Rev. William H. White to settle 
as minister. He was born in Lancaster, Mass., in 
1798, and lived on a farm in Westminster until he 
was twenty-one years old, when he fitted for college 
under the tuition of Rev. Dr. Stearns, of Lincoln. 

Mr. White graduated at Brown University in 1824, 
and at Cambridge Divinity School in 1827. He re- 
ceived a call to preach in Kingston, Mass., but pre- 
ferred Littleton, where he was ordained January 2, 

It is said that it had long been his ambition to set- 
tle in this town and to win the daughter of his pre- 
decessor, Sarah Bass Foster, to whom he was married 
a year after his ordination. 

He was an earnest, active and able man, and the 
church and town still feels and will feel the benefit of 
his ministry for years to come, if not for all time. 

He was the founder of the Littleton Lyceum, of 
which an account more in detail will be given later, 
and of the first Sunday-school in this town. He died 
July 25, 1853, in the twenty-sixth year of his minis- 
try. He was succeeded by Rev. Frederick R. Newell, 
September, 1854, to November, 1856; Rev. Eugene 
De Normandie, February, 1857, to July, 1863; Rev. 
Albert B. Vorse, June, 1864, to June, 1869; Rev. 
David P. Muzzey, October, 1869, to April, 1871 ; Rev. 
Timothy H. Eddowes, January, 1872, to December, 



1872; Rev. Samuel R. Priest, January, 1873, to Au- 
gust, 1874; Rev. J. Wingate Winkley, March, 1876, 
to July, 1882; Rev. William I. Nichols, October, 1884, 
to November, 1889; Rev. E. J. Prescott, July, 1890. 

In 1841 the society took down their old church and 
buiU. the present one on the same spot, the fourth 
building of the First Congregational Society. In 1882 
a vestry, with dining-room and kitchen below, were 
added to the rear of the church. 

Within a few years of each other were formed three 
other religious societies in this town, of which only 
one has survived; they were the Universalist, the 
Unionist and the Orthodox Congregational. 

The Universalists held meetings in the Centre 
School-house and in Chamberlain's Hall from 1830 
until December, 1846, when they bought at auction 
the meeting-house the Unionists had built a few years 
previous, a short distance east of the present Union 
school- house, on the road between the Centre and Old 
Common. The meeting-house was burned probably 
by an incendiary in 1847, after which the society 

The Unionists or Millerites were an offshoot of the 
Baptists, in whose meeting-house William Miller first 
preached in town. They built the small house before- 
mentioned in 1840. They had set a time for the de- 
struction of the world. The time came and passed, 
the society went out of existence, but the world still 

The Orthodox Congregational Society was formed 
March 22, 1840, and the church May 14th, of the 
same year, with thirty-two members, all or nearly all 
of whom had withdrawn from the town church, now 
the First Congregational, Unitarian. 

They had held services for some time previously in 
the hall over the yellow store which stood a short dis- 
tance west of Dr. R. H Phelps' house, and continued 
to use it until thfiir present meeting-house was com- 
pleted in the fall of 1841. 

Their paitors have been Rev. Jamts C. Bryant, Oc- 
tober, 1840, to March, 1845; Rev. James M. Bacon, 
October, 1846, to November, 1849; Rev. Daniel H. 
Babcock, April. 1851, to February, 1853; Rev. Elihu 
Loomis, October, 1854, to November, 1870; Rev. 
George Spaulding, November, 1870, to December, 
1871 ; Rev. Henry E. Cooley, June, 1872, to October, 
1874; Rev. George E. Hall, September, 1875, to Feb- 
ruary, 1877; Rev. William Sewall, March, 1877, to 
October, 1881; Rev. Nehemiah Boynton, October, 
1882, to September, 1884 ; Rev. John C. Staples, No- 
vember, 1884, to November, 1889. 

In 1882 the church was raised, moved back and a 
vestry and kitchen built in the basement; a new organ 
was also added and the church re-dedicated in Octo- 
ber of that year. 

The church and society celebrated their fiftieth an- 
niversary on May 14th of the present year, 1890, at 
which time addresses were made by Rev, William G. 
Tuttle, one of the founders of the church, by several 

of the former ministers and a historical address by 
George A. Sanderson, to whom the writer is indebted 
for some of the facts here stated. 

In ancient times a carriage was taxed as a luxury. 
The returns for the years 1786, '87, '88 and '89 show 
that in each of those years there were but two in 
town, bolh chaisej, though not recorded as owned by 
the same persons in every year. The owners were : 
Captain Jonathan Davis, Mr. Jeremiah Cogswell, 
Captain David Lawrence. 

The owners of slaves for the years 1770-71 were : 

Nathan Chase, one slave ; Captain Leonard Whiting, one slave ; Jo- 
seph Harwood, two slaves ; Captain^avid Lawrence, one slave ; Captain 
John Runsell, one stave ; Cax>taln Samuel Preston, one blave ; Simon 
Tuttle, one slave, 

A public school appears to have been first estab- 
lished in 1725, for on March 31st of that year the 
town voted that the selectmen should provide a school- 
master and " to agree with him," that is, as ti) pay. 
They hired John Powers. The following January 
the town again voted that there should be a school- 
master and chose a committee consisting of Deacon 
[Caleb] Taylor, Lieutenant Lawrence and Walter 
Powers to hire the school-master and, in connection 
with the selectmen, to order where the school was to 
be kept in the several parts, of the town— in private 
houses, of course. 

There was but one school, and to be fair to all, it 
kept in various parts of the town, thus usually mov- 
ing three times during the short time it kept, which 
was only three or four months a year in all. In 1727 
an article to see if the town wouldbuild school-houses 
was voted down. In 1732 it was voted to have school 
four months in one place — that is, not to move at all 
for that year. 

From 1755 to 1757 Mr. Phillips Payson was the 
school-master. He was a graduate of Harvard Col- 
lege in the class of 1754, of which John Hancock was 
a member. 

From 1758 to 1760 Mr. Samuel Payson was the school- 
master. He was a Harvard College graduate of 1758. 

In May, 1760, the town voted " to abate Mr. Stephen 
Shattuck the Rates for his Son's Poll y" last year on 
condition his Son Goes to college the next year." 
This was no doubt Benjamin Shattuck, who gradu- 
ated at Harvard College in 1765. 

Mr. Stephen Shattuck, Jr., was the school-master 
in 1761 — he may also have been a Harvard graduate, 
as the class of 1756 contained that name. 

As the town did not build school-houses of its own 
until the year 1796, the schools, during all the years 
previous, were kept in buildings owned by private in- 
dividuals, but it appears that school-houses existed 
which were no doubt fitted up by their owners and 
leased to the town. 

In 1772 it was put to vote to see if the town should 
be supplied with school-houses, " proper allowance 
being made to the present proprietors of the School- 
Houses," but the proposition was defeated. 


Engraving made in 1886. 









o ii 

a? ^ 

►J 5 



It appears to have been quite the custom to have 
the school-masters of this early period Harvard Col- 
lege graduates who were studying for a profession, 
and sometimes undergraduates, as in 1785 Mr. Eiisha 
Gardner taught in the Centre and graduated at Har- 
vard the following year. 

In 1790 James Green was the school-master. Oc- 
tober 7, 1795, the town voted to build five school- 
houses, but in May following reconsidered and voted 
to build four. The matter was left in the hands of a 
committee to buy the land and plan the buildi-ngs, 
which was done probably soon after. This, however, 
did not settle the question of four or five schools, 
which caused much feeling and seems to have been 
carried first one way and then another. The contest 
was between the Centre people and others who wanted 
a school located there and the residents in the outer 
portions of the town, who wanted only four, located in 
the south, east, north and west parts of the town. 
The matter hung along until February, 1799, when 
an attempt was made to settle the dispute by leaving 
out to a committee from neighboring towns the ques- 
tion whether there should be four or five schools, or 
what number ; but the proposition was voted down. 

This, no doubt, came irom Centre people, and at 
the same meeting a motion to appropriate money for 
a school, to be kept in the old school-house at the 
Centre, or give certain inhabitants their proportion of 
the school money was also voted down. 

In May, however, the town voted $100 for "women 
schools," and to divide it into five equal parts. 

In May, 1801, the advocates of four schools again 
carried the day, and it was voted not to build a school- 
house in th« Centre. 

In March of the next year the Centre got -its por- 
tion of the money for a " woman school" for summer, 
but in October the town refused them any. 

In March, 1808, the appropriation for schools was 
$400 for Grammar School, $150 for Woman School— 
and these meagre sums were more than had been ap- 
propriated in some, or perhaps any, previous years. 

The four school-houses built in 1796, or there- 
'abouts, were located as follows : The North was on 
the great road, east of Beaver Brook, and near the 
long store, which is now a dwelling-house ; the East, 
or Newtown, was at the corner of the road, a short 
distance south of Mr. Eldridge Marshall's house ; the 
South was near Mr. J. A. Priest's; the West was 
near its present location. 

All attempts to get a school permanently located in 
the Centre failed for many years ; but Eev. Mr. Fos- 
ter was earnest in his efforts for it, and was not 
the man to give up in such a contest ; furthermore, 
the North School became overcrowded, at one time 
as many as 120 scholars attending in 1820-22, while 
Mr. Ithamar Beard taught. Finally, on the last day 
of the year 1821, a vote was carried, 54 to 52, to build 
a school-house near Daniel Kimball's, now Mr. A. 
P-. Hager's, in the Cen*. re, another in Nashoba, near 

Shaker Lane, and to move the North, South and 
Newtown School-houses. This was reconsidered Jan- 
uary 14th, by a vote of 68 to 53 ; but two weeks later 
another meeting was held, and the erection of the 
Centre School-house, though on a different spot, and 
the removal of the North School-house were agreed 
•to, while other plans submitted by the committee 
were rejected, and the meeting adjourned to the fol- 
lowing Thursday, January 31st, at which time the 
whole matter of school-houses was settled as follows : 
The Centre School-house to be built on the town land 
nearly opposite the church, where it stood until it 
was removed to make way for the town hall and li- 
brary building, in 1886, and the bricks used in the hall ; 
the N^orth to be moved to very near the spot occupied 
by the present North School-house; a new one to be 
built at Nashoba — still standing, but used as a farm 
building by Mr. Allen Kimball; Newtown to be 
moved to Jeremiah Tuttle's land at the foot of the 
hill, and the South to be moved seventy-eight rods, 
to very near or at the spot where the railroad cross- 
ing now is. 

The question has been a hard and vexatious one, 
and when finally settled the shrewd suggestion was 
made to build the houses of brick to prevent their 
being moved at any future time. It was immediately 
carried. In 1831 new school-houses were built in the 
north and south parts of the town, on the old locations, 
and in 1832 at Newtown. 

In 1831 began the attempts to get a school-house 
at the Old Common, which were renewed in various 
forms, sometimes to get a corporate school district 
and sometimes to have the town build, until 1843, 
when, in April, it was voted to build at the Common 
and move the Nashoba School-house, or to sell it and 
build another. 

This was reconsidered, but again carried, so far as 
related to the one at the Common. The Nashoba 
matter was put off, but carried the next year, at March 
meeting, and a school-house built on or near the 
present location. At the same meeting a committee 
was chosen to confer with the directors of the Fitch- 
burg Railroad about moving the South School-house, 
as it was on or close by the location of the track. It 
was afterwards moved a short distance south. 

As we have seen, the location of school-houses has 
always been a disturbing element in town politics, 
and any attempted change has called forth repeated 
and stormy meetings. 

This was the case again shortly after the Civil War, 
when, after many meetings, it was decided to unite 
the Centre and Old Common Schools in a graded 
school, and build the present Union School-house, 
which was done in 1867. Within the next decade 
all the other school-houses were rebuilt. Additions 
were made in 1888 to the Union School- house of a 
room for the High School, and to the West School- 
house of another room in order to make a graded 
school of it. 



A few yeara ago a High Schobl was established 
and kept one term a year, for several years, in the 
old Centre School-house, which had not been used for 
school purposes for several years after the erection of 
the Union School-house. Now the High School is a 
regularly established school, keeping throughout the 
whole school year, and with a course of study ar> 
ranged either to fit for college or to give an English 

The present principal is Mr. C. H. Harriman, who 
was preceded by Mr. Ira A. Jenkins, Mr. Edwin C. 
Burbank and Mr. William H. Snyder. 

For a few years the High and Centre Grammar 
Schools were, for lack of accommodations, kept as 
one school, with Miss Mary G. Tuttle as assistant. 

Running back over some seventy years, the follow- 
ing have been prominent teachers at various times in 
the public schools : 

Miss Josephine Newhall, Miss Nellie M. Jacobs 
(now Mrs. J. M. Hartwell), Mrs. Ellen F. Johnson, 
Mr. Albert F. Conant, and his wife (formerly Miss 
Patten, of Westford), the Misses White (daughters of 
Bev. W. H. White), Mr. Frank A. Patch, Mr. Laban 
Warren, Mr. Warren Bolles, Mr. George Stevensi 
Rev. William G. Tuttle, Mr. Benjamin Kimball, Jr., 
Bev. Edmund B. Willson (now pastor of the North 
Society in Salem.) Mr. N. B. Edwards, Mr., Henry 
Prescott, Mr. D. A. Kimball, Mr. Noyes, Mr. Nathan 
A. Reed, Mr. Otis C. Wright, Mr. Stearns, Mr. Stone, 
Mr. Ithamer Beard, Mr. Joel Hoar, Mr. M. S. Hager 
and Mrs. Sophia K. Harwood (formerly Miss Kim- 

The Littleton Lyceum was organized at a meet- 
ing in the Centre School-house, Monday evening, 
December 21, 1829, after several preliminary meet- 
ings had been held, at one of which a constitution 
had been adopted. The officers chosen were Bev. 
William H. White, president ; Bev. Amasa Sander- 
son, first vice-president ; Hon. Jonathan Hartwell, 
second vice-president; Col. Nahum Harwood, treas- 
urer ; Deacon John M. Hartwell, recording secretary; 
Mr. Joel Hoar, corresponding secretary; Mr. Ben- 
jamin Kimball, Deacon Thomas S. Tuttle, Mr. Nathan 
Hartwell, curators. 

The object of the Lyceum, as stated in the pream- 
ble of the constitution, was as follows: "We, the sub- 
scribers, feeling desirous of afibrding every possible 
facility for the improvement of our schools, feeling 
the importance of personal cultivation and the gen- 
eral diffusion of useful knowledge, and believing these 
objects can be best accomplished by united and con- 
tinued efforts, agree to form a society, under the 
name of 'The Littleton Lyceum.'" 

The founders were the leading men of the town at 
that time. Bev. Mr. White may be considered the 
father of the society, and for twenty-three years was 
its president. 

The literary work of the Lyceum began January 5, 
1830, with parsing and criticism and reading from 

the North American Review. January 12th there was 
reading by the first classes of the schools throughout 
the town, and the reading of a portion of Hall's lec- 
tures on School-keeping. January 19th began a 
course of three lectures on Astronomy, by Mr. Abel 
Fletcher, of Boxborough. Two more evenings were 
occupied by reading on cichool-keeping, and one by 
a debate. 

From that year down to and including the present 
the Lyceum has continued and flourished each year 
without a break, the only one of the many lyceums 
formed about that time throughout the State which 
has done so without the lapse of a year or more. 

The exercises have changed somewhat, and of late 
years take more the form of a course of popular lec- 
tures and concerts, with, occasionally, a debate or an 
evening occupied by the schools, as a reminder of the 
original custom and purpose of the Lyceum. There 
is no permanent fund, and the money for the support 
of its lectures is raised each year either by the sale 
of tickets or by popular subscription — the more usual 
manner — and in that case the lectures are free and 
public to all. 

During the winter months, Tuesday evening is, by 
common consent, assigned and set apart for the Ly- 
ceum, and rash, indeed, would be any one who should 
appoint any other public meeting for ihat evening. 

Among the names of those who have lectured be- 
fore the Lyceum are Balph Waldo Emerson, Dr. 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mr. E. P. Whipple, Rev. 
James Freeman Clarke, Mr. A. Bronson Alcott, 
Judge E. R. Hoar, Mr. C. C. Coffin, Prest. C. C. Fel- 
ton, Wendell Phillips, Mrs. Mary A. Livermore, Col. 
T. W. Higginson, Rev. E. E. Hale, Rev. Dr. E. H. 
Chapin, Bev. E. S. Gannett, Hon. N. P. Banks, Hon. 
Geo. S. Boutwell, Hon. John D. Long, Hon. Geo. B. 
Loring, Prof. Morse, Col. Thomas W. Knox, Hon. 
Wm. Parsons and a long list of other prominent men. 

In 1879 the semi-centennial of the Lyceum was 
celebrated on December 23d. On that occasion Hon. 
Geo. W. Sanderson presided. An historical address 
was delivered by Miss Hannah P. Dodge, to whom 
the writer is indebted as authority, and other addresses' 
were made by Hon. Geo. S. Boutwell, Hon. Geo. 
Stevens and Bev. Edmund B. Willson. The proceed- 
ings, including letters from invited guests, were 
printed in pamphlet form. 

Littleton people are justly proud of this honored 
institution, which has been so well supported and 
has added much to the culture of the town. 

It is interesting to relate the traditions about sev- 
eral of the large trees which beautify the town and 
are among the few landmarks connecting us with 
the past. 

The great elm on Mr. John A. Kimball's land, near 
the mill-pond, marks the spot where lived Samuel 
Dudley, the first town clerk, and whose most excel- 
lent wife was cruelly accused of witchcraft. 

The two largest elms on Colonel Joseph A. Har- 




wood's lawn were set out by his grandfather, Captain 
Joseph Harwood, the younger, who, when a young 
man of about seventeea years, dug them up in the 
woods, carried them on his back and set them out 
where they stand, as well as two others which time 
has long since removed. 

The elm by the house of Dr. E. H. Phelps, the 
most beautiful tree in town, was set out by Captain 
Kidder to serve the practical purposes of hitching- 
post and shade for his horse when he came to meet- 
ing. It is estimated to have been set out about the 
year 1810. 

Captain Kidder kept the Tremont Tavern on the 
spot where the Baptist parsonage stands, and after- 
wards built the house owned by Mr. John W. Adams 
and occupied by him at the time it was burned by 
Scribner, the incendiary, in 1883. 

The elm tree by the Baptist parsonage was set out 
by Mrs. Nye, the mother of the late Mr. Thomas Nye. 

The elm tree on the sidewalk between Mr. Everett 
E. Kimball's and Mr. William Grimes' is the ' Eogers 
Tree," so named by Mrs. Zadoc Eogers, who lived 
where Mr. Grimes does, and paid some young men 
live dollars to set it out where she designated. 

The ash tree near the town hall door came from the 
valley on the west side of Long Pond and was 
brought on the shoulders of one of the young men of 
that time. Many of our older residents will remember 
a very large elm which formerly stood in the rear of 
the house of Mr. Eugene Feleh. That tree was a 
memento of the co'uriship of John Hartwell and 
Mary Dix. Mr. Hartwell came along the road one 
day carrying some small elm trees, and meeting the 
lady who afterwards became his wife, gave her one 
which she set out, and which grew to immense size, 
and under it they both lived and died. The row of 
maples in the Centre, beginning at the Eogers tree 
and extending south on Foster Street, was set out 
in 1861. Littleton's record in the War of the Eebell- 
ion has not heretofore been fully compiled, as the 
town has only a partial list of the men who served 
as representing Littleton. The names here given, 
however, are believed to include all, both residents 
and others, accredited to the town as volunteers. 

General Schouler in his " History of Massachusetts 
in the Eebellion," states that the whole number of 
men furnished by the town during the war was 117, 
a surplus of eighteen above the quota, but the follow- 
ing fifty-six are all the names which appear on the 
town book of record : 

Charles E. Beard, Warren B. Ball, DaDiel Brown, Luther Battles, 
Joseph A. Butterfield, Marcus Conant, [Maj.] Sherman Conant, Edward 
J. Card, James Costello, George W. Clark, Theodore C. Clark, Isaac N. 
Dodge, James L. Durant, Hallowell R. Dunham, [Sergt.] James T. Estes, 
Daniel C. Fletcher, Charles Franklin, William L. Flagg, John Fowley, 
Warren W. Gilsou, [Sergt.] Francis W. Goodwin, Barney Golden, 
Edward Golden, John S. Hartwell, Charles H. Holton, Elbridge H. 
Jefts, Charles S. Jefts, Sherman H. Jewett, Abel H. Jones, [Corp.] Geo. 
W. Knowlton, John M-. Kidder, Henry A. Lawrence, George A. Loring, 
Calvin L. Labhani, [Corp.] Albert B. Marshall, Patrick Moore, Nicholas 
O'Neal, [Corp.] George H. Patch, -[Lieut.] .Cyrus P. Pickard,- [Corp.] 

Herbert B. Preston, Oscar Preston, Italph W. Parker, James Powers, 
[Corp.] Charles W. Reed, [Lieut] George A. Keetl,. [Sergt] Albert W. 
Bobbius, [Corp.] Luther B. Searles, James C. Smith, Nathan E. Tuttle, 
[Corp.] Adams W. Tuttle, [Corp.] William C. Turner, Allen P. Whlt- 
comb, Nahu'm H. Whitcomb, [Corp.] George L. Whitoonib, George 
White, Henry S. Willard. 

The following forty-nine additional names have 
been collected ^y the author after careful and diligent 

Corp. Edward D. Battles, Henry Bode, Charles P. Buckley, Henry 0. 
Burnham, Edward Cameron, Hugh Casey, Corp. John Clark, Hugh 
Connolly, John Curran, George M. Downs, Henson Dyson, Edwin C. 
Field, Thomas Geary, Michael Gubbins, William Haley, John Hawkins, 
John Hendersou, Thomas Jones, Jnlius Keiser, Bulthasa Kellar, Joseph 
Klcehamer, Stephen B. Knights, Charles A Long, Edmund Maunder, 
Jacob McAfee, Edward C. Magoren, Charles McCarthy, Eben S. Mc- 
Cleary, Alexander McGregor, George C. Monroe, Darius H. 0. Nelson, 
Corp. James O'Brien, Cornelius O'Connor, William Parker, Calvin R. 
Paige, Asst. Surg. Isaiah L. Pickard, Sergt. Comfort Preston, Austin 
Richardson, Albert J. Bobbins, Frederick Shaffer, Patrick Sborey, 
George Smith, William Smith, James Sweeney, John D. Sanborn, Homer 
A. Warren, Anton W^inch, August Vanderhyde, Edward Vansickleu. 

Some of these never resided in town, and were 
merely engaged to fill the quota, or as substitutes 
from wherever they happened to come, without regard 
to residence. The number 117 was no doubt made 
up by re-enlistments, of which there were several. 

The first town-meeting to consider matters relating 
to the war was held May 1, 1861, when it was voted to 
raise by taxation $1000, iand the selectmen were 
authorized to borrow $2000, if needed, to pay each 
soldier belonging to the town $10 a month while in 
the service, and to provide lor their families. 

In July a committee, consisting of the selectmen, 
who were John F. Eobbins, John Cutter and James 
A. Parker, with the addition of Dea. Eichard Hall, 
Francis P. Knowlton, Dea. Thomas S. Tuttle and 
Benjamin Edwards, were chosen to expend the money 
appropriated at the previous meeting. 

A year laier, in July, 1862, a bounty of $100 was 
voted to each volunteer for three years' service, and 
again, a year later, in August, 1863, the bounty was 
raised to $125. 

At the same meeting resolutions were passed appro- 
priate to the death of Nahum H. Whitcomb, of the 
Sixth Massachusetts Eegiment, who was killed at 
Suffolk, Va., and the town voted to pay the expense 
of bringing home and interring his remains. 

The town continued recruiting and paying bounties 
during the remainder of the war, and expended, ex- 
clusive of State aid, $11,104.38. 

In 1863-64r-65 the selectmen were Joseph A. Priest, 
William Kimball and George W. Sanderson. 

Though a small boy at the time, the writer well re- 
members the impressive citizens' meeting in Central 
Hall when the first volunteers, enlisted for nine 
months, took their departure. Speeches were made 
by prominent citizens, and the soldiers appeared in 
their new uniforms. 

A Soldiers' Aid Society was formed under the pres- 
idency of Mrs. S. B. White, widow of Eev. Wm. H. 
White, and many boxes of clothing, bandages and 
comforts were forwarded to the seat of war. 



Libraries. — One of the earliest public libraries in 
tbia State was in Littleton, and was established pre- 
vious to 1827, probably by an association. It was a 
small collection of books, several being on theology ; 
there were also Josephus' "History of the Jews," 
" Gil Bias,'' with some of Scott's and other novels of a 
standard character, and was kept on a set of three 
or four shelves which were placed in the house of the 
person having them in charge for the time being, 
and given out to any citizen who called for them. 

At the date above mentioned the library was kept 
in the house of Mr. Timothy Prescott, who lived in 
the Rogers house, on the spot where Mr. George 
Whitcomb now lives. The books were sold at auction 
in 1834 or '35. About this time was established 
another library which was in charge of Dea. James 
Kimball, town clerk in the house now occupied and 
owned by Mr. A. P. Hager, until the evening of Jan. 
1, 1847, when the books were sold at auction and 
bought by different people in town. Many of the 
books are still in existence, and the writer has seen 
one with the original book-plate headed "Littleton 
TowB Library " on the inside cover. 

An agricultural library was also eslablished, prob- 
ably after the sale of the town library, and kept an 
assortment of books on subjects of interest to farmers 
on some shelves in the Centre store. This library 
was maintained and owned by an association, and was 
more of a book club than a public library. 

For several years previous to the foundation of the 
Reuben Hoar Library the case containing the agri- 
cultural library, the books of which were little, if any 
read, had been kept in the old brick Centre School- 
house, which was used as a town office, and .had also 
a vault for town books and records in it. 

These were all turned into the Reuben Hoar Li- 
brary, together with many books belonging tq the 
town, which were in charge of the selectmen, and had 
also been kept in the brick school-house, 

This lot of town books contained many valuable 
sets which had been issued by the State from time 
to time, such as the Massachusetts and Plymouth 
Colony Records, Hitchcock's " Ichnoiogy of New 
England," and others. 

We now come to the Reuben Hoar Library. Some 
time during the fail or early winter of 1884 a gentle- 
man who desired to remain unknown communicated 
to Dea. George W. Tuttle his desire to assist in 
founding a free public library in Littletop, and re- 
quested Mr. Tuttle to consult with several citizens as 
to the best way to proceed, at the same time express- 
ing hia willingness to give the sum of $10,000 under 
certain conditions. 

Mr. Tuttle consulted with Hon. George W. San- 
derson, Mr. Gardner Prouty, Mr. Shattuck Hartwell 
and Mr. Nelson B. Conant, who held several meetings 
in regard to the matter and communicated with the 
unknown gentleman through Mr. Tuttle. Before mat- 
ters were in shape to lay before the town, Mr. Tuttle 

was taken sick with what proved to be his final ill- 
ness, and in the latter part of the winter the people 
of this town mourned in his death t-helossof a highly 
respected and valued citizen. Before his death he 
communicated to Mr. Nelson B. Conant his son-in- 
law the name of the gentleman making the offer and 
negotiations were then carried on through Mr. Conant. 
After deciding on a plan to propose, a citizens' 
meeting was called for Monday afternoon, March 23, 
1885, at which time the donor's offer and conditions 
were announced as follows: $10,000 to be appropri- 
ated by the town, $2500 to be raised by subscription, 
$10,000 to be given by a party (his name to be un- 
known), on condition that the library be called the 
Reuben Hoar Library, and that $5000 be invested in 
books, and $5000 be invested and kept as a fund of 
which the interest to be expended yearly in books to the library. 

None of the gift of $10,000 to be expended on the 
building. The books to be kept insured by the town 
and all expenses attending the running of the library 
paid by the town. 

The library and its funds to be in charge of seven 
trustees,, viz. : the pastor of the Unitarian Church 
and one layman, the pastor of the Orthodox Church 
and one layman, the pastor of the Baptist Church and 
one layman ; one of the selectmen. 

The plan proposed by the gentlemen who called 
the meeting, that is the conference committee, was 
to accept the offer and to build, with, the $10,000 to be 
appropriated by. the , town, a town-hall and library 
building combined. 

Some opposition was manifested, as many desired 
to see the plan modified so that the town would not 
be required to expend so much money on a building, 
but the plan of the conference committee was carried 
out and resolutions favoring the acceptance of the 
offer were adopted. 

The committee and others then began a canvass for 
subscriptions toward the $2500 to be raised in that 
way, and after sufficient progress had been made a 
town-meeting was held in Central Hall, Monday, 
June 8, 1885, to see if the town would accept the con- 
ditions of the gift and appropriate money for building 
a hall and library and other matters co nnected with 
the matter. After considerable opposition the offer 
and conditions were accepted and a building com- 
mittee, chosen consisting of Gardner Prouty, Joseph 
A. Priest, George W. Sanderson, Edward Frost and 
Herbert J. Harwood, with instiuctions to report plans 
and location for a building at an adjourned meeting 
two weeks later. At that time the committee reported 
in favor of the location opposite the Unitarian 
Church, and showed sketches by Hartwell & Richard- 
son, architects. 

The report was accepted and it was to build, and 
$10,000 appropriated. 

The committee then went to work, but care and 
caution marked its proceedings, whiph were also pro- 





tracted by financial diflScultiea of the general con- 
tractor, so that it was two years before the building 
was completed and furnished. 

For furnishing, the town made a further appropria- 
tion, which brought the cost of the building up to 
$11,000 or thereabouts. 

The building was dedicated July 28, 1887, with an 
oration by ex-Governor John D. Long, addresses by 
Hon. George S. Boutwell and Hon. Charles H. Alien, 
a letter from the founder of the Reuben Hoar Library, 
and other appropriate exercises. 

The founder wrote as follows : 

** About fifty years ago a resident of Littleton became involved and 
was obliged to fail in business. 

'* Reuben Hoar being bis largest creditor was made assignee. After 
looking over the assets and finding that if sufficient time was given 
they might realize just about enough to pay the debts iu full, Mr. Hoar 
said to the man, '1 will make you my agent ; go on, collect and dis- 
tribute until you have paid all their just due, and if there is nothing 
left 1 will furnish you with capital to start again.* 

"Forsome two years the business was managed with the most rigid 
economy, during which time Mr. Hoar proved wise in counsel and 
generous in help. 

*' When the estate had been settled, leaving a. sufficient sui^plua to pay 
Mr. Hoar his legal and proper commission as assignee, he refused alt 

" It is from the careful use of that small residue by two generations 
that the means have been acquired with which to found this Library in 
honor of Reuben Hoar. " By the donor." 

In the mean time library trustees had been chosen 
on July 3, 1885, as follows : Rev. Robert G. Johnson, 
Rev. William I. Nichols, Rev. John C. Staples, Nelson 
B. Conant, Herbert J. Harwood, Hon. George W. 
Sanderson, Miss Hannah P. Dodge, who organized 
with Mr. Sanderson, chairman ; Miss Dbdge, secre- 
tary and Mr. Conant, treasurer ; and proceeded to 
make a selection of books, and to invest the perma- 
nent fund. Miss Sarah F. White was chosen librarian, 
a position which she still honors. 

After purchasing, classifying and arranging about 
2200 volumes, the library was opened to the public a 
few days after the dedication 6f the building. 

A printed catalogue was issued in December, 1889, 
and at that time the library had grown to about 4500 
volumes. The benefits of the library are fully appre- 
ciated by the citizens of the town, and there are few 
people of eligible age who do not either take out 
books or frequent the periodical table, so that the 
total circulation of books is over 7000 a year in a 
population of 1000. 

The library is open on Wednesday and Saturday 
afternoons and Saturday evenings. A fine oil por- 
trait of the late Reuben Hoar, in whose honor the 
library was named, hangs upon the wall of the read- 
ing-room, the gift of his daughters, — Mrs. Adelbert 
Mead, of West Acton, and Mrs. Isaac Wright, of Har- 

The library also received a bequest of $1000 by the 
will of Augustus K. Fletcher, formerly of this town, 
and has also been favored with many gifts of books 
and some pictures, as well as a valuable manuscript 
collection of historical and genealogical matter be- 

longing to the late Samuel Smith and given by his 

The town is also the owner of five shares in the 
Boston Athenaeum Library, presented many years ago 
by Dr. Shattuck, of Boston, a relative of the first 
minister of the town, by the use of which books 
can be taken out by Littleton people. 

The three churches have each a library of Sunday- 
school books, and that of the Unitarian Church is 
also quite general in its character, and contains books 
for people of all ages. 

Littleton is principally a farming town, but has at 
the depot village a factory for canning and pickling 
fruit and vegetables, operated by E. T. Cowdrey & 
Co., the plant being owned by a company of Littleto 
men. There are two saw and grist-mills owned and 
operated by Fred C. Hartwell, — one at the depot and 
the other at the old Warren mill-site. At the Com- 
mon Village are located the factory for manufactur- 
ing elastic webs and suspenders and the apple evap- 
orator, both owned and operated by Conant & 
Houghton. Conant & Co. have stores at the Common 
and depot. Thacher & Hazen, a new firm, recently 
succeeding A. W- & W. H. Sawyer, at the depot and 
C. C. Hildreth at the Centre. 

A few years since a large and costly brick factory 
was built near the depot by the Avery Lactate Co., 
for the manufacture, by a new process, of lactic acid, 
but the company failed and the building and machin- 
ery stand idle, having been sold for taxes. 

About the time of the War of the Revolution there 
was a factory for dressing cloth on the brook near the 
house of Peter S. Whitcomb ; it was owned by a stock 
company, which had, in 1779, seventeen shareholders, 
mostly residents. 

The population of Littleton in 1776 was 918; in 
1860, 1063; and in 1885, 1067. The number of polls 
is 305 and the valuation $849,278. 

The town has been represented in the State Senate 
by Rev. Edmund Foster, Hon. Jonathan Hartwell, 
Hon. Joseph A. Harwood and Hon. George W. San- 
derson, and in the Executive Council by Hon. Joseph 
A. Harwood. 

The State engineer of the Hoosac Tunnel, com- 
pleted in 1875, was Benjamin D. Frost, of this town. 

Taverns have been kept in Littleton by Samuel 
Hunt, probably near Peter S. Whitcomb's house, 
mention of which is made in the early records of 
meetings held there as early as 1722 ; also by one 
Lawrence, probably Samuel, in the south part of the 
town as early as 1768, in the house now occupied by 
David Hall, of which previous mention has been 
made ; by John Fox and after his death by his wife, 
in the Centre about the time of the French and Indian 
War ; also by Capt. Leonard Whiting in the Centre, 
previous to the Revolution ; by William Henry Pren- 
tice, in the Centre, where Everett E. Kimball lives, 
during the Revolution ; by Samuel Gilbert and after- 
wards about the beginning of this century by Captain 



Kidder, at the Common, called the Tremont House, 
which stood where the Baptist parsonage now is — 
the building continued to be used as a hotel until it 
was struck by lightning and burned in 1845; by 
SimeoD Proctor, where Solomon S. Flagg now lives; 
by Madison Loring, who succeeded Captain Kidder, 
at the Common, in the house afterwards occupied as 
a dwelling by the late John W. Adams; by Samuel 
Smith, on the spot where Albert F. Conant's house 
stands, and later, in the same building, by J. M. Col- 
burn, "William Chamberlain, Boynton Needham and 
others, and last by George D. Brown, who owned the 
place when it was burned, in 1878, but had not kept 
it open to the public for several years previous, 

William L. Mitchel now keeps a public-house at 
the Common and has for several years. 

As before stated, the earliest cemetery in town was 
at Nashoba, and was plowed up a number of years 
ago. The second and oldest of the two present ceme- 
teries, the one at the Common, was laid out in 1721 and 
is described as having for its "East Corner an oak 
tree by King St. so called." The other cemetery was 
purchased in 1801, but was used only for the inter- 
ment of paupers until the year 1812, 

The following epitaphs are to be found in the old 
cemetery at the Common : — 

' * Memento Mori, 
Here lies the Body of Dr. Enoch Dole, of Lancaster, M 33 yrs. 5 mos. 
& 3 days, he unfortunately fell with 3 others ye 9th of Mar, 1776, by a 
cannon BaU from our cruel & unnatural Foes y^ British Troops while on 
his Duty on Dorchester Point. 

No warning giv'n 
TJriceremoniouB fate I 
A sudden rushfrbm life's meridian joys I 
A wrench from all we are from all we love,^ 

What a change from yesterday I • 
Thy darling hope so near (Long laljored prize). 
Oh, how ambition flnsbed Thy glowing cheek— ambition truly great 
Of virtuous praise ; 
And Oh I yo last (what can woid express thought reach), yo last, last 
silence of a iriend. 

Meaning his entrance into Boston which so soon took Place & on 
which his heart was mnch set.** 

" Here lyes the body of Isaac Powers, 
One of those sweet and pleasant flowers, 
Who in his Lifetime Lived well, 
But God did toll bis mournful bell ; 
Let this be a call unto the rest 
"When God doth take from us the best 
Who was a pattern to us all. 
But God can give a louder call 
All earthly parents now behold ; 
The price of Grace is more than gold. 
Prepare to meet your children first 
At the Eesurrection of the Juet. 
Who died December 15, 1729, in the 29th year of his age.' 

/* Affliction sore, long time I bore 
Physicians was in vain. 
Till God did please 
And Death did seize 
To ease me of my pain." 

' As you are now, so once was I, 

Rejoicing in my bloom, 
As I am now, you soon must be, 
Dissolving in the tomb." 

• Present useful 
Absent wanted, 
Lived desired 
And died lamented." 



In Littleton the number of old families living on 
farms which have been handed down from sire to son 
for many generations is remarkable, and among the 
oldest is the Harwood family, of which Hon. Joseph 
A. Harwood is the head. 

Nathaniel Harwood, of English origin, was living 
in Boston in 1655, whence he removed to Concord. 
From there his son Peter and grandson, Captain Jo- 
seph Harwood, moved to Littleton and bought in 1737 
t"he estate upon which the family now live. 

Their first residence was in a lot since grown up to 
woods near the new road to Newtown from Littleton 
depot, and some half-mile east of Mr. Harwood's 

The cellar-hole may yet be seen and the old well 
filled with stones, while a short distance away is a 
flnespring which comes up through a hollow log set in 
the ground no doubt some 150 years ago. About 1754 
a house was built near the present one by Captain Jo- 
seph Harwood, and his son. Captain Joseph Harwood, 
Jr., then a young man, set out the elm trees, of which 
two large ones are still standing, and under which 
Mr. Harwood's grandchildren, the seventh genera- 
tion on the place, to-d'ay play. 

The Harwoods have always been prominent in town 
aifairs, and have been pioneers in all movements of 
reform and improvement. 

Colonel Nahum Harwood, the father of the subject 
of this sketch, was one of the first Abolitionists, and a 
co-worker with Garrison and Phillips. He was also 
one of the projectors of the Fitchburgh Bailroad. 
His wife, Mrs. Sophia Kimball Harwood, who lived 
to the advanced age of a few days less than ninety- 
four years, used to relate many incidents of the olden 
time, among them how she wore crape, when a girl, for 
the death of George Washington, reminiscences of 
the last slave owned by the Harwood family, etc. 

The old house above referred to as built in 1764, 
was destroyed by fire in 1874, together with a great 
number of relics and heirlooms. 

It was one of those substantial square white houses, 
with an immense chimney in the centre, standing un- 
der the broad elms on the sunny southern slope of a 
hill, the style of house which, though now becoming 





scarce, has always been the typical New England 

From its windows were seen the smoke of the burn- 
ing of Charlestown and the battle of Bunker Hill, 
and in its cellar the frightened inhabitants took ref- 
uge during the "dark day" of 1780. Many slaves 
were born and raised in the house, but the slavery 
was naver like the Southern slavery, and the Har- 
woods were among the first Abolitionists. 

Here was born Joseph Alfred Harwood, March 26, 
1827. He attended the district school and afterward 
the academies at Westford, Groton, and Exeter, New 
Hampshire. It was intended to send him to college, 
but his father dying when he was fifteen years old, he 
came home to take charge of the farm. 

Many old heads predicted failure for a boy with a 
large farm on his hands, and a fondness for fine horses 
and cattle, but the boy had a level head and managed 
well. He made mariy improvements on the farm 
" making two blades of grass grow where one grew be- 
fore," draining old bogs and making them produce, 
heavy crops of fine English hay, plowing up huckle- 
berry pastures and planting orchards, and similar 
things. Meantime he paid his bills, rent and interest 
on the portions of the farm belonging to the other 
heirs, and finally bought and paid for the whole. He 
found time to teach school for a number of winters, 
and was noted for his good discipline, and the ease 
with which he maintained it. A school in a, neigh- 
boring town, containing a number of full-grown schol- 
ars, men in size, who had driven away two or three 
teachers, and vowed vengeance on the next who 
should come, was turned over to Mr. Harwood, when 
he was only seventeen years of age, to complete a 
term. He held his place without resorting to harsh 
measures, and left the school orderly, obedient and 

The stock oq Mr. Harwood's farm has always, since 
under his management, been of the best. He intro- 
duced among his cattle the first thoroughbred animals 
ever brought into Littleton, and by frequent additions 
of new blood has not only improved his own herd, but 
the stock on all the neighboring farms. He devoted 
himself almost exclusively to agriculture until 1868, 
when, in partnership with his younger brother, Na- 
hum, under the name of J. A. & N. Harwood, he 
commenced the manufacture of leather board, their 
factory being at North Leominster, on the Nashua 
Kiver, and their salesroom in Boston. The great 
Boston fire of November, 1872, found the firm mov- 
ing a large stock of goods from one store to another ; 
both were burned, but by good fortune and good 
judgment combined — for they always go together — 
their insurance was divided among a number of out- 
of-town companies and was all good. 

During the panic of 1873 the firm stood its ground, 
while many of its neighbors succumbed. 

On April 1, 1884, the Leominster factory was de- 
stroyed by fire, causing a loss to the firm and a fur- 

ther indirect loss by crippling the business during 
rebuilding, but by good management all liabilities 
were promptly met and the business continued. A 
fine new factory was built, the firm was made into a 
corporation under Massachusetts laws, by the name 
of the Harwood Manufacturing Company, and has 
continued the same business, branching out somewhat 
in the manufacture of patent fibre chair-seats and 
chairs, and settees for churches, theatres and halls. 
Joseph A. Harwood is president and treasurer. 

In all matters, both of public and private business, 
Mr. Harwood's policy has been liberal and expan- 
sive, encouraging all improvements such as new roads, 
public buildings or any project which will increase 
the business and prosperity of his town, and also in 
the improvement and adornment of his estate. After 
the old house was burned he built a large and ele- 
gant new one on the top of the hill, a few rods from 
where the old one stood. The wood-cut opposite 
gives an accurate idea of the house and surroundings. 
The view from the house in all directions is very fine, 
covering the park with its walks, drives and ponds, 
all planned and laid out by Mr. Harwood, who is in- 
tensely fond of landscape gardening, beyond which 
the eye passes over a large expanse of hills and valleys 
to Mounts Wachusett, Monadnock, Watatick and the 
Peterboro' hills. 

Mr. Harwood has in his farm about 240 acres, a 
considerable part of which he has added within a few 
years by the purchase of land extending in the direc- 
tion of Littleton depot, on which is located the 
United States Cattle Quarantine Station, which was 
moved from Waltham in 1885, as a result of his efforts 
and against much political opposition stimulated by 
those who wanted it elsewhere. 

Mr. Harwood was postmaster of Littleton for 
about twenty years, and during the greater part 
of the time accommodated the citizens by sending 
the mail g.t his own expense to sub-offices at the 
Centre and Old Common, previous to the establish- 
ing of aregular office at Littleton Common. Through 
his influence a telegraph office was established in con- 
nection with the post-office, which could be done 
only in that way, and by his bearing a part of the 
expense of a clerk for both offices. 

In 1873 Governor Washburn appointed Mr. Har- 
wood on his staff", and he was re-appointed by Lieut. 
Governor Talbot when acting Governor for the unex- 
pired term after the election of Governor Washburn 
to the United States Senate. Col. Harwood was 
elected to the State Senate in 1875 and re-elected the 
following year and was an active, practical and 
influential legislator. He served in his first year as 
chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, and 
also on the Committees on Agriculture, and on En- 
grossed Bills, and in the following year was chairman 
of the Committee on Agriculture and a member of 
the Committtee on Public Charitable Institutions. 

Ail important matter that w-s curried through the 



Senate largely through his influence and efforts was 
the building of the State Prison at Concord. During 
his second term occurred the celebration of the Lex- 
ington and Concord Centennials, and Mr. Harwood 
was made chairman of the joint special committee 
having the whole matter in charge for the Legisla- 
ture, including the entertainment of President Grant 
and his cabinet. 

General Grant, on his return to Washington, wrote 
him an autograph letter as follows: — 

" Executive Mansion, "WAeHiNGTON, Apl. 27, 1875. 
"Hon. J. A. Harwood, Chairman Legislative Committee. 

" Dear Col. : — Permit me througli you — the chairman of the com- 
mittee of the Masa. Legislature, appointed to meet the Cabinet and 
myself on the occasion of the late centennial celebration of the bat- 
tles of Concord — Lexington, and convey tons the invitation of the State 
to be its guests for the time— to tender my thanks, and the thanks of the 
accompanying Cabinet Ministers for the courtesies received from his 
Excellency the Governor of the state, and staff, your committee and 
citizens generally. Nothing was left undone to make our short stay in 
the state most pleasant. With great respect, 

*' Tour obt. svt., 

" n. S. Gkant." 

At the expiration of Mr. Harwood's second term in 
the Senate, he was elected to the Executive Council 
from the Sixth Councilor District, and served in that 
capacity three years — the first two in Governor Kice's 
and the last in Governor Talbot's. 

The first year he was on the Committees on Par- 
dons, on Penal Institutions, on Military Affairs and 
chairman of the Committee on Accounts ; in the two 
succeeding years he was on the two first-named com- 
mittees, also on the Committee on Kailroads and the 
Hoosac Tunnel, and chairman of the Committee on 
Military Affairs. During his third year he was one 
of the senior members of the Council and was con- 
sidered Governor Talbot's right-hand man in that ad- 
ministration, which has been celebrated for its careful 
and business-like management and strict integrity. 

In 1879 and again in 1882, Mr. Harwood was a 
prominent candidate for the Republican nomination 
for Lieutenant-Governor, and in the convention of 
the former year received 181 votes and of the latter 

He has always been a staunch Republican, and 
prides himself on having invariably voted the straight 
ticket in both State and national affairs. 

In his whole career, both in business and politics, 
determined persistence has marked his course and 
has been the cause of his success. 

He is now president and treasurer of the Harwood 
Manufacturing Company, president of the Live Stock 
Insurance Company, director in the Mutual Reserve 
Fund Life Association of New York, trustee of the 
New England Agricultural Society, trustee of the 
Middlesex Agricultural Society, trustee of Westford 
Academy and trustee of the Massachusetts Agricultu- 
ral College. He has always been an active member 
of the Unitarian Society and Church, and was at one 
time a president of the North Middlesex Conference. 

In personal appearance Mr. Harwood is tall, with 

iron gray hair and beard, a full face and a sharp eye; 
he walks with a long stride and very fast. He is very 
cordial in manner and makes and holds many friends. 

In 1852 Mr. Harwood married Lucy Maria Hart- 
well, of Littleton, daughter of Hon. Jonathan and 
Elizabeth Briard (Walker) Hartwell. 

Two sons have been born to them — Herbert Joseph, 
who graduated from Harvard College in 1877, and is 
now associated with his father in business, also, with 
his wife and five children, living with his father and 
mother at the old place, and Edward Alfred, who 
died in infancy. 


William Kimball, son of Deacon James and Rachel 
Hartwell, Kimball was born in Littleton December 
6, 1817. The greater part of his life was spent in his 
native town, in which, for about twenty years of his 
early manhood, he kept a store, and during a portion 
of this time was postmaster. For many years- he was 
justice of the peace. In 1845 he married Mary Adams 
Lawrence. Of their six children, four survive, — 
George A., William L., Myron A. and Mrs. Mary K. 
Harlow, the first and last living in Somerville, Mass., 
William L. and Myron A. residing in Littleton. 

At the semi-centennial of the church of which Mr. 
Kimball had been a member, his pastor, in alluding 
to him, said: "His pleasant countenance was an in- 

The following resolution from the town records 
shows the esteem in which he was held by the citi- 
zens : 

" Resolved : That in the lamented death of William Kimball we greatly 
mourn our loss of an exemplary and honored citizen, an experienced, 
efficient and upright oliiciul. Living most of his life of sixty-six years 
in his native 'town, by his sterling traits of character, his kindly spirit, 
his habitual courtesy, his modest manliness, his firm principles and 
proved i ntegrity, his genuine and ready support of the public interests, 
and his earnest, simple. Christian faith and life, he gained and held the 
confidence and esteem of his townsmen, as shown in the continuous and 
unanimous choice of him to be their town clerk for more than a quarter 
of a century." 

It was said by one who knew him well : " He walked 
among men one of earth's noblemen, whose integrity 
was so staunch and whose honor so true that there 
was none to point the finger of scorn at him or to im- 
peach his honesty.'' 

In 1869 he married Mrs. Lucy M. Houghton, young- 
est daughter of John Goldsmith, of Littleton. He 
died October 14, 1884, aged sixty-six years. 


In presenting a sketch of the life of Deacon James 
Kimball, it seems suitable to prefix some account of 
his father, Deacon Daniel Kimball, the progenitor of 
the Kimball family in Littleton : 

Daniel Kimball was born in Haverhill, Massachu- 
setts, July 14, 1751. Soon after his removal to Lit- 
tleton the Revolutionary War broke out. He entered 




the army, in which he soon obtained the rank of 

In 1779 he married Lucy Button, of Littleton. Of 
their twelve children, three died in infancy; the re- 
mainder all married and settled in Littleton. The 
following are their names : 

Daniel, James, Benjamin, Jesse, Lucy (Kimball) 
Mead, John, Sophia (Kimball) Harwood, Sebia 
(Kimball) Goldsmith and Rebecca (Kimball) Fletcher. 

At the present time (1890) more than sixty worthy 
descendants of Deacon Daniel Kimball reside in Lit- 
tleton, and more than 125 are scattered through the 
States from Vermont to California. ,He died in 1813, 
aged sixty-two years. 

In the archives of the town library may be found a 
funeral sermon preached by Rev. Edmund Fositer, in 
which his character is delineated. 

Deacon James Kimball, second son of Deacon Dan- 
iel Kimball, was born in Littleton in 1783. 

He inarried, in 1807, Rachel Hartwell, of Littleton. 
Of their ten children, two — Sophia (Kimball) Hurter, 
of Jacksonville, Florida, and Elizabeth (Kimball) 
Stevens, for many years a resident of Lowell — are still 

James Kimball was, while quite a young man, prom- 
inent in town and other public interests. He was one 
of the pioneers of the anti-slavery and temperance 
movements. From 1838 to 1851 he was town clerk. 

He was an interested and active member of the Ly- 
ceum from its beginning : a society which for more 
than half a century has had an important educational 
influence in the town. 

He was for many years chosen as one of the Board 
of Selectmen, and for a considerable period repre- 
sented the town in the State Legislature. He was 
deacon of the Orthodox Congregational Church from 
its organization (which occurred in his own house), in 
1840, to his death. He had previously held the oflice 
of deacon in the Unitarian Church. 

His second wife was Mrs. Mary B. Harris. 

He died in 1869, aged eighty-six years. His life 
fully warranted the estimate of his character shown 
by his father in the advice given his children upon 
his death-bed : " My children, take James for an ex- 


John Goldsmith was a native of Acton, Mass. He 
was a son of John and Maria (Houghton) Goldsmith, 
— the former being a native of Littleton and the lat- 
ter of Harvard. It is suprposed he was a lineal de- 
scendant of the Goldsmith family that was of the 
early settlers of the country, and which tradition 
states was of Irish descent. On the town records of 
Wenham is the statement that in 1659 Richard Gold- 
smith was taxed for the salary of the minister one 
pound, fifteen shillings. In 1731 Richard Goldsmith 
married Hannah Dodge, of Wenham, and in the old 
burying-ground at Littleton some ancient grave- 

stones mark the spot where their ashes repose. Mr. 
Goldsmith was also a lineal descendant of Rev. Ben- 
jamin Shattuck, first minister of Littleton. The 
Goldsmith family moved from Littleton to Harvard, 
and John, the subject of this sketch, having been de- 
prived of his father, through accident, in early life, 
was put in charge of his grandfather, who brought 
him up. In 1818 he was married at Littleton to 
Sebia Kimball, a daughter of Deacon Daniel and 
Lucy (Dutton) Kimball, both of Littleton. In early 
manhood he engaged in farming, and owned and oc- 
cupied for sixty years the homestead where he died. 
His estate is situated about a half-mile easterly of 
Littleton Common. It is beautifully located, and the 
buildings and grounds indicate the thrift of their 
former proprietor. Mr. Goldsmith was a fine type of a 
New England farmer. He was industrious, economi- 
cal and attended strictly to the interests of his farm. 
He made a business of farming, by which, together 
with safe investments, he acquired a large property. 
As a citizen he was public-spirited and had the con- 
fidence of his fellow-townsmen, who many times 
elected him to positions of honor and trust. He was 
a prominent member of the Unitarian Church, a con- 
stant attendant on its services and a regular contrib- 
utor to its support. At his decease he left a sum of 
money for the benefit of the Littleton public schools, 
and the appreciation of the gift by the town is set 
forth by the following resolutions : 

'* Whereas, Our lamented townsman, the late John Goldsmith, be- 
queathed to the town of Littleton the ' Sum of Fifteen Hundred dollars,' 
to be holden and invested by the Selectmen and their successors, as 
trustees, the income of which he desired should be expended annually 
for education in the Common Schools of said Littleton — 

*^Voled, That the citizens of the town hereby express and record their 
grateful reciignition of the value of Mr. Goldsmith's long life among 
them as that of an upright and honored citizen, of diligent industry, of 
sound integrity, and strict fidelity to every tmst ; of great wisdom in 
council, and excellence of heart, whose memory we cherish with just 
pride and whose sterling character and example we commend as worthy 
of personal emulation.** 

Mr. Goldsmith died at Littleton February 14, 1883, 
at the age of eighty-seven. His family, beside his wife, 
consisted of two sons, John and Daniel, both of whom 
died unmarried, and three daughters, Sophia, Julia 
and Lucy Maria, the latter being the only child now 
living. Sophia married Francis Conant; Lucy 
Maria, the youngest daughter, married Daniel P. 
Houghton, of Harvard, and later William Kimball, 
son of Deacon James Kimball, of Littleton, and now 
resides at her father's late residence. 


Otis Manning was born at Littleton, Massachu- 
setts, October 31, 1805, and was a son of Jona- 
than and Lydia (Howard) Manning, both natives 
of Chelmsford. His education was obtained at the 
district school, with the exception of one term 
spent at the Westford Academy. In early life he 
learned the wheelwright's trade, and for more than 



half a century he followed this vocation, working 
most of the time in a shop that is still standing near 
his present residence, which is a little northerly of 
Littleton Common. December 10, 1833, he was mar- 
ried at Westford to Miss Ann Crosby Carter, daughter 
of Ezra and Anna (Jaquith) Carter. He has one 
child, Ann Maria Manning. 

Mr. Manning is a Kepublican, but has never ac- 
tively participated in political affairs, except to per- 
form the ordinary duties of citizenship. In matters 
of reform he has always been on the right side — being 
an Abolitionist in the days of slavery, and an advo- 
cate of temperance in the early days of that reform. 

When almost everybody was accustomed to use 
some alcoholic liquor, he was a total abstainer, and 
this practice he has followed through life. In his 
church relations he is a staunch Congregationalist. 
In early life he joined the church in Westford, and 
for some years was superintendent of its Sunday- 
school. He was one of the original members of the 
Orthodox Church in Littleton, which was organized 
May 14, 1840. Since the formation of this church he 
has held the ofBce of deacon, and for years served as 
clerk and Sabbath-school superintendent. As a 
church officer he has been faithful and efficient, and 
as a Christian his life has been exceptionally com- 
mendable through these many long years of service 
for the Master. He has but rarely been absent from 
his place at chutoh on the Sabbath, or at the weekly 
church meeting ; and has been a ready and willing 
contributor for the maintenance of the institutions of 
his faith. Not only has he been devoted to the 
spreading of the Gospel at home and in his own land, 
but he has been much interested in the propagation 
of it in other lands. He has been a firm and substan- 
tial friend of the great missionary societies, and dur- 
ing a long life he has spent but few nights away from 
his native town except to attend Veligious conferences 
and conventions. 

Few lives have perhaps been more exemplary than 
his ; and in the quiet retirement of old age he still 
retains a lively interest in the causes that he has long 
helped maintain. He resides with his daughter, and, 
with the exception of the infirmities incident to ad- 
vanced age, he is still in the enjoyment of robust 


Barnabas Dodge, an old and respected citizen of 
Littleton, was of English stock, the ancestor of the 
American branch of the family, William Dodge, be- 
ing among the company that landed at Salem in 
1629, under the leadership of John Endicott. 

His father, John Dodge, served in the War of the 
Eevolution, under his father. Captain John Dodge. 
His maternal grandfather, Barnabas Dodge, was a 
captain in Colonel Gerrish's regiment, which was in 
service at the battle of Bunker Hill. 

Mr. Dodge was born in Wenham, Massachusetts, 
in 1795. His father was a farmer, but in his youth 
had made several voyages to foreign countries, as was 
common with the young men in the coast towns at 
that time. The family came to Littleton in 1818, hav- 
ing bought the estate known as the Captain Cogswell 
farm, in the north part of the town. In his youth Mr. 
Dodge taught a district school. While in this em- 
ployment he met, as his pupil, Miss Sarah Corning, 
of Beverly, who in 1820 became his wife. Mr. Dodge 
cultivated and greatly improved his farm, never seek- 
ing public life or honors. It has been said of the 
Dodge family, that they do not seek public office, but 
when it is conferred upon them, that they perform its 
duties with ability and fidelity. This was true of the 
subject of this sketch. He he d various town offices, 
school committee, selectman, &c. He was the father 
of ten children, who lived to adult age. The eldest 
daughter became a teacher. After several terms in 
the district schools of Littleton, she became succes- 
sively principal of the Townsend Female Seminary, 
whence she had graduated ; Oread Institute, Wor- 
cester ; Codman Hill Young Ladies' School, Dorches- 
ter; Ladies' Department Kalamazoo College, Michi- 
gan, and of Colby Academy, New London, New 
Hampshire. She was superintendent of schools in 
Littleton four years after her return to her native 
town in 1877. Another daughter was for several 
years teacher in the Winchester High School. She 
married Rev. E. B. Eddy, of Calais, Maine, and died 
in 1879. Two of the sons are in business in Cam- 
bridge; two remain in Littleton. Three of the 
daughters a;n,d,four sons are still (1890) living. 
. Mr, Dodge was a. man of inore than ordinary intel- 
ligence, was a diligerit reader, and assisted in forming 
two small town libraries, which, unfortunately, sur- 
vived but a few years. His older children remember 
the interest which all felt when the father brought 
home a new boot from the library, and their enjoyment 
of the winter evenings when he would read aloud from 
these, or the family newspaper, as they worked around 
the cheerful fire-place, filled high with glowing logs, 
over the ruddy heaps of living coals beneath. Mr. 
Dodge was an honest man. No one could ever bring 
against him charges of cheating or meanness in trade. 
He was truthful, sympathetic and a faithful friend. 
He was interested in the affairs of the town and of the 
state and the nation, never seeking to control them, 
but always on the side of what he believed to be the 
right. He died in 1873. His wife survived him fif- 
teen years, dying at the old Jiomestead, still in posses- 
sion of the family, to which she had corneas a youth- 
ful bride almost seventy years before. 


Gardner Prouty was born at Spencer, Worcester 
County, Massachusetts, September 4, 1817, and was 
the son of Gardner and lluth (How) Prouty, both of 






Spencer. He attended the common schools of his 
native town till about seventeen years of age, when 
he went to Westminster, where he spent one term at 
the Academy. After leaving school he learn'fed the 
carpenter's trade, at which he worked about six years. 
In 1847 he went to Boston, and for a time engaged in 
the ice shipping business. Afterwards he was in the 
business of wharfinger, in which he continued till 
January 1, 1889. In 1864 he went to Littleton and 
purchased the place where he still resides. His house 
is pleasantly situated on the main street at Littleton 
Common ; and connected with it is a farm of sixty- 
four acres, the care of which has afforded him ample 
opportunity for exercise since his retirement from his 
former business. June 3, 1851, Mr. Prouty was mar- 

ried at Boston, by Rev. Thomas Starr King, to Clara 
D. Wheelock, of Calais, Vermont. Miss Wheelock 
was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Welcome Wheelock, 
formerly of Charlton, Worcester County, Massachu- 
setts. He has one child, Gardner W., who is married 
and lives in Littleton. Mr. Prouty is a Democrat, 
and was a delegate to the Presidential Convention 
held in New York in 1868. He has taken an active 
part in the public affairs of Littleton, having been 
selectman and assessor seven years, and overseer of 
the poor six years, and five years chairman of these 
boards. For several years he was also a member of 
the School Committee, and was moderator of the 
annual town-meeting of Littleton twenty years. His 
paternal ancestor came to Spencer from Scituate.